Dave Smith
Roundup of Refugee News (14.6.21)

It'sYou can find all the events of  Refugee Week! on the official website

Asylum / refugees / immigration (UK)

Guardian: ‘No human survives alone’ … Misan Harriman’s portraits for Refugee Week – in pictures

Today is the start of Refugee Week, coordinated in the UK by Counterpoint Arts. The acclaimed photographer and new chair of the Southbank Centre Misan Harriman has photographed prominent supporters of refugees under the theme We Cannot Walk Alone, a line from Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. Depicting individuals from diverse backgrounds who have chosen to ‘walk with others’, the series aims to promote a fairer world where everyone is valued



Guardian: Moria fire: Greek court jails four Afghan asylum seekers for 10 years

Four Afghan asylum seekers have been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Greece for their part in a fire that destroyed the Moria migrant camp in 2020. 

The men, charged with arson with risk to human life over the fire on the island of Lesbos last September, were found guilty after a court rejected a request by lawyers for three of them to be tried by a juvenile court because they were under 18 at the time.



Independent: Fifty charities urge Home Office to act on ‘crisis’ in asylum support payments

The Home Office has been urged to act as hundreds of asylum seekers have been unable to afford food and basic provisions after their financial support was cut off due to a botched contract transfer.

A letter to home secretary Priti Patel signed by more than 50 refugee and asylum organisations describes the situation as “one of the worst asylum crises we have experienced” and accuses a senior Home Office official of misleading MPs this week by claiming the matter was resolved.



Independent: Home Office facing legal challenge over ‘insufficient’ consultation on new immigration plans

The Home Office is facing a legal challenge over the consultation process for its new immigration plans, with lawyers claiming it did not provide adequate time and opportunity for meaningful responses. 

Priti Patel unveiled the department’s New Plan for Immigration on 24 March, describing it as an “overhaul” of the asylum system. A six-week consultation into the plans was launched on the same day. 

The new measures would see refugees who arrive in Britain via unauthorised routes denied an automatic right to asylum and instead regularly reassessed for removal to safe countries they passed through.



The Star: Asylum seekers in Sheffield call for end to 'enforced cruelty' in moving letter

Asylum seekers in Sheffield have penned a moving letter calling for an end to what they call the ‘enforced cruelty’ they face on a regular basis.

The letter will be handed in at the Home Office’s Vulcan House offices beside the River Don as part of a day of action this Friday, June 18, to mark Sheffield Refugee Week.



ITV: Kent Council no longer accepting unaccompanied child migrants as it has 'reached limit'

Kent County Council has warned it has "reached the limit" for the number of unaccompanied child migrants it can look after for the second time in a year after a recent wave of illegal Channel crossings. 

The head of the council announced they had again reached an unsafe capacity and would no longer be able to accept any new unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) from June 14, just 10 months after it had to take similar action.

“I am profoundly saddened to be in this unthinkable position once again in such a short period of time. Despite warnings, and continued dialogue with government, Kent’s UASC support resources are again significantly overwhelmed,” said Council leader Roger Gough.



Guardian: Home Office condemned for forcing migrants on bail to wear GPS tags

More than 40 human rights organisations have condemned the Home Office’s introduction of 24-hour GPS monitoring of people on immigration bail in an expansion of surveillance powers that has involved no consultation process or parliamentary debate.

The new policy marks a shift from using radio frequency monitors (which alert authorities if the wearer leaves an assigned area) to round-the-clock GPS trackers (which track a person’s every move), while also giving the Home Office new powers to collect, store and access this data indefinitely via a private contractor.



Dazed: The gross, grim irony of the UK Home Office’s Pride rebrand

It’s June, and ‘pinkwashing’ or ‘rainbow capitalism’ is everywhere – that is, corporate logos turning multi-coloured for Pride month. But the UK Home Office redecorating its logo is an example of peak meaningless activism, given that it continues to deport LGBTQI+ asylum seekers to countries that are unsafe for them.

The hostile environment policy, which began under Theresa May, continues to make life difficult and dangerous for queer refugees and asylum seekers. In 2019, it was revealed that the Home Office refused at least 3,100 LGBT asylum claims, including from people in Pakistan and Nigeria where same-sex acts are punishable by life in prison and up to 14 years in prison, respectively.



My London: Afghan refugee spent 12 hours with his young family in a refrigerated container to cross the Channel

Since coming to the UK, Dr Nooralhaq Nasimi has dedicated his life to helping other refugees and hasn't taken 'any holiday'. He fled Afghanistan with his wife and three children to escape the Taliban.

The journey to England took them nine months and covered thousands of miles in a chain of smugglers and border crossings that culminated in a 12-hour Channel crossing in a dark refrigerated container.



Asylum / refugees / immigration (international)


BBC: Ethiopian migrants face robbery, extortion and starvation

Every year tens of thousands of Ethiopians begin the perilous 2,000km (1,200-mile) trek from their home country to Saudi Arabia, attempting to cross mountains, deserts, the Red Sea and even a war zone. Some of these migrants describe how they face robbery, extortion and starvation in temperatures of around 50 Celsius.

Many die along the way, while others fall short and end up begging in the streets.

BBC Africa Eye brings you the story of some of those who risk it all.



One to read

Border Nation: A Story of Migration

Borders are more than geographical lines - they impact all our lives, whether it's the inhumanity of deportations, or a rise in racist attacks in the wake of the EU referendum. Border Nation shows how oppressive borders must be resisted.

Laying bare the web of media myths that vilify migrants, Leah Cowan dives into the murky waters of corporate profiteering from borders by companies like G4S, and the ramping up of everyday borders through legislation. She looks at their colonial origins, and explores how a draconian approach to border crossings damages our communities.

As borders multiply, so too must resistance. From demonstrations inside detention centres to migrant-led campaigns and acts of cross-border solidarity, people are fighting back to stand up for everyone's freedom to move.