Refugees arrive on the Scottish Isle of Bute. The Home Office has announced a policy that refugees applying to settle permanently in Britain face a ‘safe return review’ after five years. Photo Credit : Christopher Furlong/Getty Images on the Guardian's website

Refugees applying to live in UK face being sent home after five years

Article in The Guardian
11 March, 2017

“Tens of thousands of refugees who apply to live permanently in Britain are to be required to undergo an official review to see if it is safe for them to be sent back home, under new Home Office instructions.

The new policy of reviewing whether all refugees still require protection five years after they first obtained asylum in Britain was quietly slipped out on Thursday and it is believed to take immediate effect.

The new instructions were foreshadowed by Theresa May in her notorious “chilling and bitter” 2015 Conservative party conference speech when, as home secretary, she made clear that in future those who secured refugee status in Britain were only being given temporary protection.”

Another terrible decision by British authorities, who have manifestly no clue as to what “social integration” means. How can anyone integrate when a sword of Damocles is hanging over your head, threatening you with another cruel uprooting? This will result in an unmanageable number of forcible return procedures, thousands of legal court cases, increased fueling of xenophobia, and an even more fractured society. Why would any government inflict upon its society such long term negative consequences, in exchange of a short term electoral advantage? The short-sightedness of such a policy is staggering.

To read the full article in the Guardian, please click here

  People in a detention center in Tripoli. Photo Credit: Ismail Zitouny/Reuters on The Guardian's website

UK-funded camps in Libya ‘indefinitely detaining asylum seekers’

Article in The Guardian
10 March, 2017

“British-funded refugee camps in Libya are implementing the indiscriminate and indefinite detention of asylum seekers in the conflict-riven country, the UK government’s official aid watchdog has warned.

In a report published on Friday, the UK’s Independent Commission for Aid Impact expresses concern that UK aid to Libya risks causing unintended harm to migrants and could prevent them from reaching a place of safety. It also criticises ministers for apparently decided on the funding plan without studying the human rights implications in a country struggling to contain its long-running civil war.

The UK is spending roughly £10m this year in Libya to stem the flow of migrants from north Africa to Europe, including cash for the Libyan coastguard and to improve the appalling conditions in the camps where many people are now ending up.”

This is the European strategy to reduce migration pressure for the coming years. It’s good however to see a government watchdog advocate for ex ante and ex post human rights impact assessments of immigration assistance programmes abroad.

To read the full article, please click here

  A man from Mexico crosses the wall border between Mexico and Unites States at the beach of Tijuana, Mexico. Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria on CNBC's website

Hardline immigration policies will be the top driver of human rights risks in 2017: Report

Article on CNBC News
9 March, 2017

“Hardening immigration policy in the U.S. will increase the risk of modern slavery and labor abuses against undocumented workers, creating human rights risks for businesses in 2017, warns a new report from global risk analysts Verisk Maplecroft.

Undocumented migrant workers may become more vulnerable to human rights abuses as tougher U.S. immigration policies may push them under the radar, warns the Human Rights Outlook 2017 report.

There are around 8 million undocumented migrant workers in the U.S., according to the report. Stricter deportation policies may push them further underground, while a Mexico border wall may cause human traffickers to increase their fees.”

This report rightly suggests that “mandatory human rights due diligence checks on their supply chain” would help businesses avoid being responsible for labour exploitation, labour trafficking or even modern slavery. This comforts the idea that governments should also be subjected to the rule: mandatory ex ante and ex post human rights impact assessment, by credible independent auditing firms, of all government policies, including social policies and migration policies, would go a long towards protecting the most vulnerable in our societies, whatever their status. We already often do such impact assessments on environmental issues and sometimes on gender mainstreaming: why not do it systematically for the human rights of all?

To read the full article on CNBC’s website, please click here.

  There were dozens of local authority/Home Office operations involving rough sleepers across London last year. Photo credit: Souvid Datta for the Guardian.

Charities referring rough sleepers to immigration enforcement teams

Article in The Guardian
8 March, 2017

“Leading homelessness charities whose remit is to protect vulnerable rough sleepers have been passing information about some of them to the Home Office, leading to their removal from the UK.

A report from Corporate Watch, The Round Up, reveals concerns about homelessness charities’ links to immigration enforcement and comes at a time of increasing disquiet about the involvement of landlords, schools and the NHS with immigration enforcement. 

Civil liberties campaigners have accused the government of having a toxic “border on every street” policy.”

We knew that “firewalls” between social services and immigration enforcement are key to ensuring access of migrants to rights and benefits without fear of detention and deportation, whatever their status and circumstances. It seems that homelessness “charities” – instituted to help the neediest in our societies – need firewalls as well.

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A World Without Borders

By Nathan Smith, in Foreign Affairs
3 March, 2017

This article by Nathan Smith is an excellent response to the article by George Borjas in the NYT of Monday 27 February. Many thanks to Ray whom I quote below and who in turn quotes Adam Smith.

“An economist invoking the need for moral sentiments in economic calculations of migration – reminds me of Adam Smith, who in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1790) explains our natural proclivity for empathy that leads to compassion and sympathy, but where he also states: “There are some passions of which the expressions excite no sort of sympathy, but before we are acquainted with what gave occasion to them, serve rather to disgust and provoke us against them. The furious behaviour of an angry man is more likely to exasperate us against himself than against his enemies. As we are unacquainted with his provocation, we cannot bring his case home to ourselves, nor conceive anything like the passions which it excites. But we plainly see what is the situation of those with whom he is angry, and to what violence they may be exposed from so enraged an adversary. We readily, therefore, sympathize with their fear or resentment, and are immediately disposed to take part against the man from whom they appear to be in so much danger. … [The] disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least to neglect, persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.” With these passages, I think of Donald Trump…..”

To read the full article by Nathan Smith, in Foreign Affairs, please click here