A woman held at the Manston holding facility in Kent is taking legal action against Home Secretary Suella Braverman. The asylum seeker claims that she was held unlawfully in “egregiously defective conditions” at the centre. Her case is supported by the organisation Detention Action, and another case is being put forward by the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees. Braverman has denied ignoring legal advice about conditions at the centre, which is meant for a maximum of 1,600 people but was holding more than 4,000 and has had outbreaks of norovirus, scabies and diphtheria. Braverman has been accused of not making alternative arrangements, such as hotel bookings, to accommodate the additional people. The Manston facility has become a flashpoint for criticism of the government’s current and past policies, and treatment of asylum seekers. But the situation at Manston is not just dismal, it is a violation of legal requirements in international law, domestic law and the government’s own policies. (more…)
On 14 April 2022, the UK and the Rwandan governments signed an MoU outlining plans for transferring asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda. The MoU has been subject to much criticism from academics, NGOs and the UNHCR. Criticism has focussed, first, on the attempts by the UK to divest itself of responsibility for asylum seekers. Second, it has highlighted the potential for further abuses of refugee and human rights law to occur against transferred individuals in Rwanda. The MoU is the latest in a range of mechanisms whereby States in the Global North attempt to externalise their borders and shift responsibility for refugees onto Global South states. (more…)
By Prof Elspeth Guild, Queen Mary University of London and Kathryn Allinson, Research Assistant, Queen Mary University of London and Teaching Associate, University of Bristol.
The spectre of the Covid19 pandemic has stalked political leaders, at local, regional, national and European levels since mid-January 2020. In amongst the myriad responses that States have taken to combat the spread of the virus those relating to refugee protection make grim viewing. The scenes at the Turkish Greek land border where the President of the Commission, the President of the European Council, the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs were present to witness, and applaud, the violent actions of the Greek border guards and military in preventing people seeking to cross from Turkey to the EU to seek protection is exemplary of the approach of many States. And it did not help the image of the EU in these exceptional times, as a place where refugees are welcome and provide protection in accordance with international law.
This unedifying political spectacle addressed towards the Turkish President and intended as a response to his responsibilities came at a most problematic time. EU states were within a week of closing internal and external borders to movement of persons with little regard to the needs of refugees. In this blog we will examine the subsequent efforts of the EU (and associated countries including the UK) to comply with their obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, in particular, as regards the processing of asylum applications. (more…)
By Dr Katie Bales, Lecturer in Law (University of Bristol Law School) and Dr Lucy Mayblin, Assistant Professor in Sociology (Department of Sociology, Warwick University).*
In June 2017, ten immigration detainees launched a judicial review action against the Home Office challenging the payment of ‘slave’ like wages for labour undertaken within immigration detention.
This practice, termed ‘paid work’ by the Government, is remunerated at a rate of £1.00 or £1.25 per hour and includes work as cleaners, cooks, hairdressers, gym orderlies and gardeners – roles that are essential to the running of the immigration removal centres. In 2014 this practice resulted in 44,832 hours’ worth of work.
In this blog, we argue that this work is exploitative and ‘unfree’. In recognition that many detainees wish to work however, we do not call for an end to this practice; rather we highlight the structural conditions that render detainees more likely to accept exploitative conditions of work (including but not restricted to low pay), and argue that, at the very least, detainees should be provided with the national minimum wage. (more…)