Dave Smith
Roundup of Refugee News (wb 31.5.21)

Guardian: Refugee women and children ‘at risk of being abandoned’ in Home Office policy shift

Thousands of women and child refugees will be abandoned if the government’s New Plan for Immigration goes ahead, according to research.

If agreed by parliament, the rules would mean that most people who would currently be accepted as refugees – meaning those confirmed to have fled war or persecution following rigorous official checks – would no longer have their rights recognised in the UK due to their method of arrival. Half of those would be women and children.

A coalition of refugee organisations and human rights campaigners is urging the government to rethink the proposed policy shift.



Independent: Refugee working on NHS frontline hits out at Priti Patel’s immigration plans

An NHS worker who has spent the pandemic helping save lives on a coronavirus ward says home secretary Priti Patel’s immigration plans will lead to refugees like her being turned away from the UK.

Mariam, from Eritrea, has been working exhausting 12-hour shifts in a Leeds hospital assisting Covid-19 patients – sometimes four days in a row.

The Leeds hospital worker, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, was granted asylum after her arrival in the UK and works as a clinical support worker, battling on the front line of the health crisis.



Guardian: Uncovered: the brutal secrets of UK deportation flight Esparto 11

*References to self-harm, suicide and violence*

At 7.15am, half an hour before charter flight Esparto 11 took off from Stansted airport, a detainee with a documented history of self-harm asked to use the plane’s bathroom. He was taken to the toilet by an escort working for the Home Office who held the door ajar with his foot and, after several minutes, peered inside to discover the detainee had slashed his wrist with a blade.

Pinning the man with his body weight to gain “control”, another officer squeezed into the bathroom and placed a handcuff on the wrist. According to an account written by officers, the handcuff was used to “[give] him pain”, a reference to a restraint technique which involves deliberately inflicting suffering to gain submission. In this case, most likely by twisting the cuff or pushing it into the wrist.



Sky News: 'Thousands' of asylum seekers go hungry after Home Office cash card problems, say campaigners

Thousands of asylum seekers have gone hungry for over a week, according to charities and rights groups, who say there are problems with Home Office-provided cash cards.

The Aspen cards, normally given to asylum seekers, are loaded with £39.63 per week to help pay for things such as food, clothing and toiletries.



Independent: Hundreds of asylum seekers in UK being considered for removal to EU – despite absence of returns deals

More than 1,500 asylum seekers in the UK are being considered for removal to Europe on the grounds that they may have travelled through the continent on their journey – despite the Home Office having no mechanism to carry out these returns.

New government data shows that 1,503 people – one in four of those who arrived in Britain in the first three months of 2021 – have been informed that their asylum claims are not being considered as the Home Office is determining whether removal action on “inadmissibility” grounds is “appropriate and possible”.



Sky News: Hundreds more Afghan interpreters and their families to be welcomed to the UK as fears grow for their safety

Thousands more Afghans will be able to settle in the UK under plans to relocate those who worked for Britain during the recent conflict.

Most of those affected worked as interpreters for British troops and the acceleration of plans allowing them to settle in the UK comes as fears grow for their safety.



BBC: Afghan refugee found by motorway completes architecture degree

A former child refugee who arrived in the UK unable to speak English has graduated with an architecture degree. Salman Khan, 25, fled war-torn Afghanistan as a boy and began a six-month journey through snow and mountains.

Mr Khan was 12 years old when he was found walking next to a UK motorway and taken to a police station before going into foster care in Leicestershire.



Asylum / refugees / immigration (international)


Al Jazeera: Migrants, refugees will face digital fortress in post-pandemic EU

As the world begins to travel again, Europe is sending migrants and refugees a loud message: Stay away!

Greek border police are firing bursts of deafening noise from an armoured truck over the frontier into Turkey. Mounted on the vehicle, the long-range acoustic device, or “sound cannon,” is the size of a small TV set but can match the volume of a jet engine.



Guardian: New Zealand offers to resettle Australia’s offshore refugees still active as US deal nears end

New Zealand’s offer to resettle refugees from Australia’s offshore immigration detention system remains on the table, and the imminent end of Australia’s long-running US refugee swap could bring it under more urgent consideration from Australia.

The office of Jacinda Ardern confirmed to the Guardian that her country’s position had not changed – the longstanding offer to accept 150 refugees from Australia’s offshore islands each year still stood – but declined to confirm whether it was on the agenda for the New Zealand prime minister’s meeting with her Australian counterpart on Sunday. “We don’t discuss the content of bilaterals before they take place.”