Sunday, 29 August 2010


more recent articles we have come across that you might have missed.

Mail immigration headline changes - Five Chinese Crackers on the latest in a long line of dodgy immigration statistic stories from the Daily Flail (and other tabloids - see: Immigration: Why Let The Truth Spoil A Good Story?).

Is England the most overcrowded country in Europe? Dutch figures get fishy - more from Five Chinese Crackers, yet again on the Flail and it's on-going inability to tell the truth about statistics.

Asylum seekers living in limbo - the first in a three-part series of articles in the Irish Times on the scandal of Eire's migrant hostels.

The ‘Boatophobia’ Debate: Dehumanising Asylum Seekers and Refugees - an article from the Sri Lanka Guardian showing that not everybody from the island thinks that the 'boat people' are all LTTE 'terrorists' and warning of the danger such claims being used by Western governments to delegitimise Tamils' asylum claims.

UN panel tells France to avoid mass Roma deportations - news from the AFP about the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and their discussions on Friday of anti-Roma discrimination in the EU, and France in particular.

Calls for constitution revamp to combat discrimination
- from Australian ABC News another article about the UNCERD, this time focusing on a damning report into discrimination against Indigenous Australians.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

New Iraqi Deportation Flight Due

from a NCADC news release:

NCADC has been contacted by several detainees facing forcible removal to Iraq on the two charter flights scheduled for the 1 September 2010 and 6 September 2010. Rabar, whose campaign began several weeks ago when the UKBA reassessed his age at 20 instead of 16, is to be deported on the charter flight to Baghdad on the 1st of September.

Two other detainees that have contacted NCADC, who will be on the charter flight PVT010 to Baghdad on the 6th are Hussein Samer Mahmood, HO Ref. No. M1371631, and Ibrahim Hussein Sharif Sahidi, HO Ref. No., S1361211. Both men have been in Campsfield for about a month and have received threats to their lives in Iraq.

Ibrahim fled to the UK in 2006. His asylum claim was refused in 2007 and he has struggled through the asylum system since. His father was murdered in 2007 and his brother was murdered this year. New evidence is on its way from Iraq and he hopes that it arrives in time to file a fresh claim.

Hussein arrived in the UK in 2008 and his case was refused in 2009. He moved to Jordan and became an informal translator to the British Foreign Embassy and also made a living by assisting immigrants file their applications. However, he and his family began receiving threats in 2006 and while he was visiting the UK in 2008 he received a call from his family in Iraq saying that Hussein's brother had been threatened with kidnappings on a number of occasions and then shot and blinded. Because of this incident he decided to claim asylum from the UK.

UNCHR remains deeply concerned that returning Iraqi's to Baghdad could put them in serious danger as is outlined in the April 2009 UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Iraqi Asylum-Seekers and Note on the Continued Applicability of the April 2009 UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Iraqi Asylum-Seekers, 28 July 2010.

Write to the Home Secretary, Theresa May and let her know that you are strongly against these forced removals to Iraq.

Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 8760 3132
July 2010

Friday, 27 August 2010

Immigration: Why Let The Truth Spoil A Good Story?

The Telegraph: Immigration up by a fifth. WRONG.
The Sun: Net immigration up 20% in year. WRONG.
Daily Mail: Number of immigrants living in the UK long-term soars by 20% in 1 year. WRONG.
London Evening Standard: Rise in immigration adds 200,000 to British population. WRONG.
Press Association (UK): Students lead 20% immigration rise. WRONG.

The Guardian: Figures show 20% increase in net migration to UK. CORRECT.
BBC News: Net migration to UK rose in 2009, statistics show. CORRECT.
The Associated Press (Canada): Number of immigrants to UK falls 4 per cent last year, statistics agency says. CORRECT.

Yet again the right-whinge press have manipulated the latest migration figures from the Office for National Statistics. Either that or their reporters still cannot get their head around a really simple concept that we have explained on a number of occasions before: IN MIGRATION (immigration + live births) - OUT MIGRATION (emigration + deaths) = NET MIGRATION.

So, for the idiots at the Telegraph, Mail and Sun to claim that IMMIGRATION has RISEN when it has in fact FALLEN by 4%, down from 590,000 in 2008 to 567,000 last year, is either an outright lie or a perfect illustration of the fact that they just do not know what they are talking about.

In the case of the Daily Flail it looks very much like the former, as they chose to feature their latest on-line version of the story [we don't buy the paper, so we don't actually know what the hard copy version looks like] chooses to focus on the fact that "The number of babies born to immigrant mothers has doubled in a decade" to one in four, "polluting our precious bodily fluids". [The last bit isn't in the Flail, but you get what we mean.] This of course is to be expected, as the ONS put it: "If the number of non UK-born women living in England and Wales increases then it follows that the number of births to these women is likely to increase." But that didn't put the Flail off from making a big thing out of it. Methinks, they do complain too much!

Here a nice helpful graph to illustrate exactly why immigration (the blue line) hasn't increased by 20% in the last year. And it is exactly the same one as in the Flail if you were wondering.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Legal Challenge To Australian Off-Shore Processing

One of the most amusing ironies of the Australian election is not that the two sides' anti-immigration rhetoric and desire to 'process' asylum claims even further from the mainland* got them nowhere further than a neck-and-neck finish and a hung parliament, rather it is that this situation coincides with a High Court challenge to the very basis of off-shore processing.

Christmas Island, like Manus island and Nauru, was specifically excluded from the Australian Migration Zone, the territory where a non-citizen must hold a visa to legally enter and remain, as part of the Pacific Solution. The legislation involved also removed the right of non-citizens to apply for visas when there, allowed the Australian state to remove them to other countries and limited access to the Australian legal system.

This ultimately means that, unlike in the UK, immigration department officials and private contractors rather than the courts have the final approval of any asylum application. Now two Tamil refused asylum seekers are seeking judicial review, challenging the constitutional basis to off-shore processing. if successful it would defeat one of the core purposes of government policy to severely limit the rights of 'boat people' to asylum.

The Immigration Minister in fact has the ultimate say in these cases but it is government policy to waive the right in favour of immigration officials. That he is not choosing to examine such cases as he would do for asylum applications made on the mainland by refugees that arrive by air, for example, also forms part of the challenge

* In fact in a completely different country, not just on an island specifically excluded by law from certain sections of the Australian legal process.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


recent articles we have come across that you might have missed.

Public rage against Tamil refugees has a nasty, xenophobic odour - an article from the Vancouver sun that is summed up in its subtitle "Why this mean-spirited furore over a few Tamils? Perhaps it's because they aren't white".

Xenophobia illogical in Canada - a similar story for this Calgary herald article on the MV Sun Sea.

Europe's union riven by government attacks on minorities - comment piece by James A Goldston in the Law section of the Guardian on the "wave of governmental hostility towards ethnic and religious minorities [that] risks undermining the common values of "human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity", in the words of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, upon which the European Union is founded."

French crackdown on Gypsies raises concern - an American view on the French Roma deportations from the Las Vegas Sun that shows that this is not a recent phenomenon.

Foreign workers abusing their children - an interview with Israel's Interior Minister, Eli Yishai from the right-wing Shas party, who is responsible for implementing the latest and controversial policy on the deportation of the children of 'illegal' foreign workers. It is a long and highly illuminating interview, not just in his use of language about 'them' but also in his obvious pious paranoia about being labelled a racist whilst claiming that everybody else's attitude to him is based on racism.

Monday, 23 August 2010

More Roma Bashing

Ashamed of being out-bigoted by the French, well-known right-whinge racist demagogue and Italian Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, has resurrected one of his favourite excuses for expelling the Romani from Italy: if they live solely on welfare benefits they should be deported.

The European Commission have already refused Italy permission to carry out this pogrom once before but for Moroni the logic behind such a move is inescapable: because the Romani are persecuted and ghettoised*, denied the normal everyday rights that anyone else would expect, forced to live in penury with a chance of finding a proper job, home, education and health care, and therefore end up living on welfare benefits, it is a legitimate excuse to persecute them further.

And where is Moroni going to deport them to, as many have lived in Italy for generations? Any where but Italy obviously. And of course, many of the Romani will not be able to prove any connection to Italy because they have been systematically denied their citizenship and it has long been police policy to confiscate documentation that can prove such rights.

* And have been so for centuries wherever they have tried to make a home.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Hunger Strike In Greece Enters Second Month

Hamid Saddeqi, a 36-year-old Iranian refugee, has entered the second month of a hunger strike protest outside the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Athens. He has sewn his lips shut and is refusing food to highlight the fact that he is still waiting for his application for political asylum to be processed after his papers were first submitted 8 years ago.

Since the protest began, the hunger strikers have suffered harassment and arrest at the hands of the Greek police. But that has not stopped the number of hunger strikers and supporters protesting outside the UNHCR offices swelling to twenty and all are in the same boat, victims of the fact that Greece only grants 0.04% of all asylum applications it receives each year.


recent articles we have come across that you might have missed.

Why MigrationWatch are wrong: a plea for a more robust debate on immigration - a excellent demolition in the New Statesman of MigrationBotch's latest scare story on immigration, showing up the way this glorified micro-pressure group abuses statistics. It may be well-funded and punch above its weight because it panders to the right-whinge prejudices of the likes of the Daily Flail and Excress but it just doesn't seem to understand the science of statistical analysis, or much else.

A rising global tide of xenophobia - self-explanatory comment in The Independent linking the expulsion of Roma in France to the Australian election and beyond.

Our national disgrace: The detainees wrongly held in UK 'prisons' - an expose by The Voice about the people who languish in immigration detention

Forgotten children - an alternative take on the children of migrants who, despite being born in Israel, are still being disenfranchised and forcibly deported.

La Raza: Deporting 12 Million Illegal Aliens ‘Not a Realistic Solution’ and U.S. Should Stop Trying
- a self-explanatory piece on a report entitled 'The Impact Of Section 287(G) Of The Immigration And Nationality Act On The Latino Community' published by the National Council of La Raza last week.

Deported for Running a Red Light - Arizona is not the only U.S. State where racial profiling is leading to people being deported for minor infringements of the law.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Forced Eviction Of Gypsies & Travellers Of Hovefields & Dale Farm

France may have hit the headlines in recent weeks with its official state-sanctioned persecution of Roma, Gypsies and Travellers, but the UK has had it own version too - the long-running saga of the Dale farm community in Essex. Here is the latest news from there:

More than 20 families living in chalets, mobile-homes and caravans at Hovefields Drive, nearby the largest Romani Gypsy and Irish Traveller community in the United Kingdom, Dale Farm, Essex County, are facing imminent forced eviction.

The families received a 28-day notice issued by Basildon District Council to vacate their pitches and leave by 31 August or otherwise face eviction by the bailiff Company Constant and Co. Six families were evicted from Hovefields Drive community on 29 June, when the bailiff company, acting as agents of the Basildon Council, arrived at the site in the early hours of the day accompanied by Essex police officers and gave occupants one hour to pack up and leave. Heavy digger machines dig up the six plots where there was no-one living at the time as the families were travelling.

No previous notice of this work had been given and a utility unit used as a lavatory was demolished. Children were able to move freely about the sites shortly before the utility was demolished by a heavy digger. Health and safety regulations were totally ignored during the eviction operation and the police did nothing to guarantee compliance with human rights law although a meeting between senior police officers, the Dale Farm Housing Association and the Essex Human Rights Clinic had taken days before the eviction.

Those families who were travelling cannot return to their plots because Basildon District Council obtained a court injunction that prevent them to do so. No alternative accommodation was offered, no compensation for the destruction of utilities was paid, and these families are now homeless.

In the case of Dale Farm, approximately 1,000 people have been residing on the estate for more than seven years, including many children. The community has been resisting forced evictions attempts by Basildon District Council since May 2005 when it voted to clear a large part of the settlement. Although all residents hold land ownership titles, sections of the site had no planning permission and Basildon Council has subsequently refused all attempts to regularise the situation, preferring the enforcement option.

In March 2010 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) issued a letter urging the UK Government and its institutions to consider suspending any planned eviction until an adequate solution is achieved, with the meaningful participation of the community to guarantee protection of their housing rights, including the provision of adequate alternative accommodation. Basildon Council has offered nothing but brick and mortar houses or apartments, which are unsuitable for Gypsies and Travellers. Furthermore, the Council has refused to engage in conversations with the community.

The new UK Coalition Government has cancelled the central funding of much-needed new caravan parks for nomadic Gypsies and Travellers and removed the requirement to designate land for their accommodation. Many thousands of Gypsy families are thus forced to live illegally on land they have purchased but where they have been denied through strict planning laws to set up permanent homes. Thus another generation of Gypsies and Travellers are in danger of losing the chance of a regular education, while the old and the sick are deprived of the care and medical attention.

The wishes of the residents are to remain where it is and not to be split up. There is a strong communal ethic, with the elderly being cared for by the younger generation and small children protected. Gypsies and Travellers feel that having lost the possibility to follow the old nomadic life-style, it is essential to the preservation of their culture and ethnicity to keep Dale Farm and Hovefields communities intact. In line with the Housing Act 1996, it is incumbent on the BDC to consider the claim of the occupants to not be evicted as the families threatened with forced removal have no place to go.

The community is therefore seeking your support to urge the Basildon Council to:
- Put on hold the imminent forced eviction of Hovefields community and the planned eviction of Dale Farm, and engage in meaningful consultation discussions with the residents and their representatives for the purpose of seeking to achieve an amicable solution;

- Consider both the possibility of a) issuing planning permission to allow their permanent residence on their present properties; or b) utilising the ¤ 4 million set aside for the eviction to provide an alternative area to which the residents can relocate;

- Respect and protect the housing, property and family rights of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, in particular the rights of the children.

Suggested Action:
Please send an appeal letter by e-mail or fax to the addresses listed below requesting the Basildon Council to stop the eviction. Model letter and further background information available - copy/amend/write your on version.

Basildon District Council
Mr. Bala Mahendran, Chief Executive
Basildon Centre
St. Martins Sq, Basildon, SS14 1DL, UK
Tel:+44 1268 533333

Department for Communities and Local Government
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
Zone 7/J9
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU

Commission for Equalities and Human Rights
Mr. Sean Risdale
Policy Advisor,
3 More London, Riverside Tooley Street
London, SE1 2RG
Tel: +44.20 3117 0235

Essex Human Rights Clinic

Dale Farm Housing Association

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


recent articles we have come across that you might have missed.

Migrant workers in Peterborough: Hate crime and housing - a different view to those being pedalled by the tabloid hatemongers from BBC Look East.

Immigrants cause job losses? Like ice-cream brings sharks - Gary Younge on lies, damned lies and immigration-related statistics.

How EU integration bars the persecuted from finding refuge in Europe - Les Black on the unlearned lessons from recent European history.

A Quick Gloat

Following on from the recent leaks showing that Ken Clarke has identified £2bn in cuts at the Ministry of Justice, 22% of the department's £9bn budget and equivalent to the whole prison's budget, the Daily Flail appears to have received inside information about the targeting of some of those cuts. This has lead to a gloating article highlighting the fact that £90m of these cuts will be in the legal aid for asylum cases. This of course will make it much harder for refugees to pursue their regularly eroded rights under UK law but much easier for the state to summarily remove them, killing two birds with one stone - cutting the budget and immigration at one fell swoop, and making the readers of the Flail very happy reactionary bunnies.

Monday, 16 August 2010

French Roma Fight Back

As Sarkozy's opportunistic and blatantly racist attempts to 'ethnically cleanse' France of Roma, Gypsies and other Travellers, by forcibly destroying their camps and deporting those of them that are found not to have the correct residency or work documentation, the victims of the pogrom have started to fight back. A group of Roma that had been expelled from a camp in the town of Anglet, south of Bordeaux, used their 250 cars, trucks and caravans to blockade the Bordeaux bypass and a bridge over the River Garonne, backing traffic for 5 hours and causing mile-long tailbacks in both directions. Having then been stopped by police from moving onto a nearby sports field, they reoccupied the bridge for another hour-and-a-half in the evening before leaving.

In the past two weeks police have closed more than 40 camps and at least 700 children and adults have been detained prior to deportation back to various eastern European countries, under the excuse of a 'security clampdown'. However, Sarkozy's move is merely an all too obvious attempt to boost his flagging poll ratings by openly linking immigrants and crime, a policy that has brought widespread condemnation not only from the left and the UN*, but also from within his own UMP party.

On Thursday, the vice president of France's Human Rights League Malik Salemkour said that there was a problem of "institutionalized racism" in the country. And following a raid on a camp in Paris on Saturday, UMP elder statesman Jean-Pierre Grand likened the camp evictions to round-ups during World War II. "That the authorities, arriving very early in the morning, break up families, sending men to one side and women and children on the other, and threatening to separate mothers and children" was "disgraceful". The vice president of France's Human Rights League Malik Salemkour has also said that there is a problem of "institutionalised racism" in the country.

In better news, the residents of a 10-year-old Gypsy camp in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, which was evacuated by the police last month, has been offered four empty lots by the Communist Party mayor to re-establish their community.

* Last week the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a 90 page report on racism in France, claiming that the country was experiencing "a notable resurgence in racism and xenophobia" and lacked the political will to deal with the problem.

The Asylum & Refugee Law Project

The immigration debate (if one can grace it with such a term) in Australia has grown particularly bilious in the run up to the general election, with both Labor and the Liberals trying to out do each other with outlandish ideas on how to deal with what is really a very small problem:the boats'. What with the looming and effective reintroduction of the 'Pacific Plan' who ever gets in at the election, the choice of location for the 'offshore processing centre' merely differs, and now Abbott claiming he will have a hotline to Naval ships sent to intercept 'the boats' and will make the ultimate decision on whether to to provide assistance or to turn them around and send them back to potential disaster.

None of them are brave enough or intelligent enough to grasp the nettle and scupper their chances of winning the election and actually challenge the absurd hysteria surrounding 'the boats'. Fortunately, one group of University of Queensland students have taken on just that mission and have launched a blog under the name of The Asylum & Refugee Law Project to challenge just those myths and misconceptions and try and inject some realism into the debate.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

'Illegal immigrant' Stole My Roundabout

Following in the grand 'tradition' of tabloid nonsense* [see: 'Illegal Immigrant' Stole My Shed (Again), In Every Back Garden A Heartache, Scraping The Bottom Of The Racist Barrel & Nauseating In The Extreme for example] comes a tabloid tale of more dastardly (and dirty) foreigners doing things to outrage the average tabloid editor's sensibilities (yes, we are reliably told that tabloid editors do have something that passes for sensibilities in not-so-polite company).

This barely concealed piece of racist scaremongering appears in various versions: as 'Unemployed migrants set up makeshift camp on busy roundabout' in the Daily Flail (probably the 'original' version, subsequently copied by all the rest), as 'Britain's migrant squatter shambles' in the Daily Excress, 'Homeless migrants set up camp in roundabouts' is how the Daily Scar sees it and the slightly more grammatically correctly as 'Peterborough 'under siege' by migrant camps, locals claim' in the Daily Torylaugh.

* Yes, we know we stated yesterday that we were well and truly bored by all this but... needs must.

Brussels No Border Camp 2010

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

More On Tabloid Racism

We've grown rather bored with pointing up the incredibly obvious nature of the racism of stories in the Daily Flail and Daily Excrescence (even if they chose to try and defend themselves against the 'sanctimonious' amongst us that have the audacity to point out this racism and label it as being exactly what it is). However, we are more than happy to point out other sites that take the time to analyse the papers' latest ventures into outrage.

Check out the Enemies of Reason and Five Chinese Crackers takes on the Flail's article on the supposedly astounding revelations that 'New figures reveal barely half of new mothers in parts of suburban England are of white British origin' (the page title of the on-line version). Nothing particularly new or startling in this - it is standard Flail fair, trawled up racially profiled titbits presented with its standard anti-immigration bias that panders to the prejudices of its readership and keeps its sales figures so high. What is interesting however, is exactly how this type of reporting is subtly (and not so subtly) twisted (sub-edited) to make it fit that agenda more, whilst at the same time providing ammunition for those, unlike the Flail editorial staff, who are proudly and openly racist.

The Daily Excress story 'Police fear being called racist so illlegal immigrants stroll free'* in contrast, is one of those that we routinely pass over as it is so obviously stupid that it doesn't require commenting on but it wasn't until we read the Tabloid Watch piece on it that we realised just how outstandingly twisted and stupid it really was.

* Yes, that is how it is spelled on the website.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Fly Border Police Airways

It appears that the French Interior Ministry has come up with a novel way of beating French anti-deportation campaigns - their own airline! These consist of 15-seater Beachcraft planes flown by border police (PAF) officers with pilots licenses from small provincial airfields where they will attract little notice. According to one such cop, this is especially favoured in the case of deporting children as deportations on commercial airline flights attract the opposition of passengers and are liable to be opposed publicly by detainee support groups.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Campsfield Hunger Strikers' Second Statement

Despite what the UK Borders Agency and the BBC are saying, the 147 Campsfield detainees are still maintaining their hunger strike. Here is the second of their statements:

We appreciate all the effort and support we have received.

Today we continue to fight for our rights, today, all we detainees will continue to fight for liberty and security which is our fundamental rights.

It is unbelievable that a country so great that advocates human rights and liberty, eradicated slavery still practice such inhumane treatment of humans with equal rights in its backyard with the expectation that the whole world would be unaware of these treacherous nature adhered by the institutions.

Today we raise our voices until liberty is ours. Over 140 detainees have maintained the decision not to feed and sleep until our lives and the lives of our families are restored.

Until this moment, we have not been contacted by the UK Border Agency or Immigration in respect to our protest. The onsite immigration have hidden away and refused to engage in any communication or dialogue. This is evidently a sign of weakness by UKBA and an acceptance that our cry is for a good reason.

We read that in media that we have vending machines and onsite medical services. It is evident that the Immigration is not in touch with fundamental issues we are facing. Our lives are at risk, we have no freedom or liberty, we are been tortured, yet Immigration speaks about vending machine. These are malicious claims in an attempt to deny or play down the gravity of our determination. Can any vending machine feed 140 people?

Our lives and liberty should be considered like the rest of the 6 billion humans in the world. Our families are undergoing pain, our cases should be reviewed frequently, our detention should be justifiable, we should be given time for adequate judicial proceedings, we should not be detained indefinitely.

In July 2010 Honourable Justice Silber ruled that the fast-track policy was "unlawful and must be quashed”, however, the UK Border Agency still indulge in the fast track policy which is against the ruling of Honourable Justice Silber.

We put this question to all. Can it ever be justifiable for any organisation, institution or country to detain any human being with family (wife and children) for 3 years with?

We are also aware that there is a possibility that our efforts will be suppressed and not channelled to the appropriate body or government, however, we will continue to fight with everyday.

We all would humbly request that the parliament and cabinet address our heartily concerns as our wives, children, and we detainees are all dying, very slowly.

Tonight, we would all sleep outside on the grass floor and would refuse to sleep indoors. We deserve to be heard and until such time, we fight.

In spite of all, it is our believe that people are good at heart and should be giving a right to life.

Our humble selves - Detainees
On behalf of all detainees


Indymedia updates: [1], [2], [3]

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Campsfield Hunger Strikers' Statement

Unlawful Detention Of Detainees

147 detainees are staging a protest by refusing meals at Campsfield immigration removal centre. The protest erupted as a result of the treatment of detainees in detention centres especially for people who have been detained for a long period of time. We continue to refuse meals indefinitely for our voices to be heard.

Some of us detainees have been detained for over 3 years with no prospect of removal or any evidence of future release. There is no justification whatsoever for detaining us for such period of time. Our lives incidentally have been stalled without any hope of living a life, having a family or any future. More often than not, we are been detained even when our family (wife and children) are resident in the United Kingdom, depriving us of having a life with our family. We the detainees are also humans.

In certain cases, some of us are tortured and even face death or mental distress. On 14 April 2010, a detainee of Kenya national Eliud Nyenze died at Oakington IRC due to negligence. Mr. Nyenze, age 40, had a heart attack, requested for painkillers, repeatedly and kept crawling around the floor in pain before he died.

Detainees are currently undergoing mental stress with some of us developing mental problems on a monthly basis. We are issued removal directions without given enough time for an appeal.

It has become a habit by the UK Border Agency to use force in enforcing removal of detainees who have a pending Judicial Review without giving appropriate time or consideration to our case and forcing our removal before our cases are concluded. In some situations, we are not given enough time to appeal against the decision which breaches our rights under Article 6 of the ECHR. Our liberty and security has been taking away.

We as foreign nationals are often been criminalised for the purpose of detention and removal as the law under the European Convention of Human Rights permits the removal of foreigners who have established there lives in the United Kingdom and are a treat to national security. Foreign nationals are now been sent to prison for 12 months custodial sentence or more prompting the deportation of such individual. Removals are enforced on specially chartered flights with security personnel who abuse and torture detainees in the process. Detainees are restrained, strapped, beating and forced on the airplane.

On 26 July 2010, one of the detainee at Campsfield attempted suicide due to the level of treatment received at the detention centre.

The Amnesty International has also reported that our detention breaches the internationally recognised human rights.

On a regular basis, we are tortured, restrained, strapped like animals and beating to effect removal. This cannot be lawful given that there is provision within the ECHR convention that prohibits torture both mentally and physically.

We painfully ask that the government, the house of parliament, the house of common, the parliamentarians and all concerned to rise to our aid and address these issues that affects not only our lives and our future but the lives and future of the thousands of our families who are constantly under pain and torture.

Detainees - Campsfield House

Hunger Strike At Campsfield & Possibly Yarl's Wood

There seems to be some confusion on the newswires but there is definitely a hunger strike at Campsfield detention centre and, according to the Press Association, at Yarl's Wood. 147 detainees at Campsfield began refusing food - "indefinitely for our voices to be heard" - yesterday evening in protest against the poor treatment of long-term detainees.

The Home Office claim that only 108 detainees are involved but, just as they did with the Yarl's Wood hinger strikers last year*, their line is to attempt to suggest that the hunger strike is not genuine - Jonathan Sedgwick, UK Border Agency deputy chief executive: "they still have access to food from the on site shop and vending machines."

The Press Association have also got a release out linking the same UKBA statement to what is claimed to be a hunger strike at Yarl's Wood but this appears to be a mistake on their part as none of the websites for the local papers have the story.

More hopefully to follow.

UPDATE: The Press Association link above now goes to a new much shorter corrected version of the story (without mentioning that they got it wrong earlier). If you want to see the earlier version then 24Dash have more or less an exact copy of the PA text.

* There is an article in today's Guardian with a number of the women who took part in that hunger strike and they talk about their experiences and the fact that they are still involved in "a legal battle to gain official recognition that the protest even took place."

Monday, 2 August 2010

European-wide Anti-Roma Racism

Ma de pr'oda, savi hinmanuces morci, ale dikh, savo les hin jilo.
[Don't look at the skin of a man; look at his heart.]
—Romani proverb

Eric Pickles, the rather unpleasant Tory communities and local government minster, seems hell bent on making sure that he is not left out of the wave of anti-Roma/Gypsy/Traveller activities that are sweeping Europe. Pandering to apparently nimby but essentially racist sentiment, he is busy drafting a swathe of new laws that will make it easier for the police to evict and arrest people that trespass on public land, the very land that Gypsies and Travellers are being forced to camp on following the increased number of court actions forcing the eviction of the very same families from land that they own but for which they have no planning permission to live.

The most notorious recent example of this phenomenon is Basildon Council's on-going attempts to try and evict the Dale Farm community. Just last week eight families were issued with eviction notices and a further 70 families are under threat of losing their homes. Yet, by European standards, they can count themselves relatively lucky, they may face daily racist antipathy and violence from hostile locals but at least they do not face forced deportation as other Roma and Travellers are.

Across Europe they are being scapegoated for the failures of politicians and economies with apparently ever increasing vigour. So much so that organisations like UNICEF, Amnesty International, the European Roma Policy Coalition and the European Roma Rights Centre have all issued recent stark warnings about the treatment of the Romani and how the EU appear to be "turning blind eye to discrimination against Roma" as the Guardian put it.

These people are EU citizens and should have the right to freedom of movement and protection under the ECHR, but nobody appears to care. Just this year we have had a series of forced evictions of Roma in Slovakia, Serbia, Italy, Romania and the Czech Republic; the forced deportation of 23 Roma from Denmark, with a two-year entry ban, for camping in the wrong place and the city of Copenhagen has requested government assistance to deport up to 400 more Roma from the country; Swedish police had expelled 50 Roma so far this year for begging, which is not illegal in Sweden; the caravan of 700 Roma who were attempting to hold an evangelical rally on squatted land forced out of the Dutch-speaking Flanders region of Belgium but managed to negotiate temporary permission to camp in Dour, in the French-speaking Wallonia; Sarkozy announced plans to dismantle 300 or so 'illegal' Roma and Travellers camps and expel them from the country in response to the recent riots that followed the shooting dead of 22-year-old Luigi Duquenet in the quiet French village of Saint Aignan*; and German plans to forcibly return 12,000 Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians to Kosovo, more than 5 000 of whom are children, including a majority that were born or grew up in Germany and speak no language other than German.**

One small piece of welcome news has been the success of a test case brought in the Hungarian supreme court against the segregation of schools in Miskolc, Hungary's third-largest city. Five Roma children were awarded damages for the detrimental effects they suffered from this form of persecution. The 100,000 florint (about £300) damages may not be much but it remains an historic decision that hopefully should bring to have an effect in the Hungarian educational system.

* "France's estimated 400,000 Travellers already have to undergo regular police checks and critics fear they are at risk of becoming the scapegoats of a government in need of a populist boost."
** There are numerous stories of the persecution of returnees and the particular problems faced by the children. Germany is not the only EU country returning Kosovans as it has been the policy of a number of Western European countries to deport refugees back to what they now consider a 'safe' country, whatever the consequences.

Another Victim

Osman Rasul is sadly just the latest in a long line of victims of the UK's barbaric immigration and asylum prevention regime (for that is what it effectively is) that is so divorced from reality that it can keep thousands of people waiting in legal limbo, often destitute and homeless when not being kept in one the government's glorified internment camps, for years on end (in Osman's case nine frustrating and ultimately hopeless years).

An Iraqi Kurd, he had arrived in the UK in 2001 claiming asylum as his life was in danger from one of the main Kurdish political factions. Like so many products of the West's war against Saddam who have managed to make it to these shores, the country in part responsible for his plight turned its back on him, refusing his asylum application.

Thus he became a typical destitute asylum seeker, surviving on £20 a month in charitable donations plus gifts of food from friends and organisations like the Nottingham Refugee Forum, and sleeping rough on the streets. He set about trying to make a fresh asylum claim but any chance of that was ended when Refugee and Migrant Justice was forced into administration, depriving him of access to legal aid and expert immigration advice.

The final straw was when he travelled down to Croydon to visit the UK Border Agency offices that all refugees are forced to travel to where ever they live in England in order to make an asylum claim. He asked them to either accept his claim or send him back to Iraq. Instead, they told him to go away and find a solicitor. Fat chance of that as only half of the solicitors firms that carried out immigration and asylum work are now able to do so following the Legal Aid reforms and his chances of getting one of them to take his case were slim.

So instead he jumped from the seventh floor of a Nottingham tower block.