Dave Smith
Refugee News Roundup (wb 20.9.21)

A usual we are indebted to Amy Merone from the Boaz Trust for collating this news and allowing us to disseminate it.

Weekly News Review (20.9.21)

Asylum / refugees / immigration (UK)

Guardian: Asylum seeker given £100,000 hospital bill after suffering stroke

Simba Mujakachi, a personal trainer, was just 29 years old in June 2019 when he suffered a catastrophic stroke that left him comatose. When he awoke, he was paralysed on his left side and unable to talk or eat.

His stroke could have been prevented by relatively inexpensive medication for a blood clotting condition that, as a refused asylum seeker, he was not entitled to on the NHS.

Now Mujakachi, who has lived in the UK since he was a child, owes nearly £100,000 for the emergency treatment that saved his life, a staggering sum which he does not know how he will ever repay.


Guardian: Home Office hotels for asylum seekers ‘akin to detention centres’ – report

Conditions in hotels used by the Home Office to accommodate asylum seekers during the pandemic are akin to detention centres, according to a report that also says accommodation is often substandard and sometimes unsafe.

The report, Safe Environment: investigating the use of temporary accommodation to house asylum seekers during the Covid-19 outbreak, explores experiences in hotels and similar accommodation. It was conducted by academics at Edinburgh Napier University in partnership with grassroots organisation Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment.


Mirror: Priti Patel faces High Court as asylum seekers left in 'unfit' Covid hell barracks

Home Secretary Priti Patel is being taken to court over plans to keep asylum seekers in grim barracks for another four years.

Some 285 migrants are sleeping 14 to a dorm in Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where Covid outbreaks are rife.

The High Court ruled in June that the Home Office had acted unlawfully by placing refugees in the barbed wire ringed facility – where fires broke out amid unrest in January.


BBC: West Midlands councils stop resettling refugees amid court bid

A scheme to resettle refugees and asylum seekers has been suspended by seven local authorities in the West Midlands amid legal action.

The authorities say they have "disproportionately carried the burden" of the scheme whilst other councils have refused to participate.

Attempts to urge the government to reform the scheme have failed, the councils said in a joint statement.


Independent: Home Office admits there is ‘limited evidence’ that its immigration plan will reduce Channel crossings

The Home Office has admitted that evidence that its new immigration plans will reduce Channel crossings is “limited”.

In an equality impact assessment for the Nationality and Borders Bill, published on Thursday, the department also states that the reforms carry “significant scope for indirect discrimination” and “potential for direct discrimination on the basis of race”.

But it repeatedly states that any discrimination would be “objectively justified” as a “proportionate means” of achieving the policy objectives of the plans, namely to “deter illegal entry into the UK”.


Guardian: ‘They left us to die’: UK’s Afghan aid staff in hiding from Taliban

Afghan employees who worked as contractors on UK aid projects fear for their lives after not being granted resettlement in Britain 

The Guardian has been in contact with four families who said they had been targeted by the Taliban because they worked for the UK government, and have now been forced into hiding.

Ahmad Shakib, who was employed for six years by Adam Smith International (ASI), an advisory firm contracted on a number of UK-funded projects in Afghanistan, said Britain had not helped him evacuate. He, his wife and children, aged nine, seven and three, have fled for their lives.


Asylum / refugees / immigration (international)

Guardian: Why Greece’s expensive new migrant camps are outraging NGOs

It has eight restaurants, seven basketball courts, three playgrounds, a football pitch, special rooms for vulnerable people, and is purportedly eco-friendly.

But Greece’s new “closed” migrant camp for 3,000 asylum seekers on Samos is also surrounded by military-grade fencing, watched over by police and located in a remote valley, and has been likened by critics to a jail or a dystopian nightmare. Its message is clear: if Europe-bound asylum seekers reach the country, they are going to be strictly controlled.


Info Migrants: More Afghans seeking asylum in the European Union

The number of Afghans, including unaccompanied children, who are seeking asylum in Europe is steadily approaching the number of Syrians. But EU figures for July show that only half as many Afghans are granted protection.

The number of asylum claims in the EU by Afghans has been rising since well before the Taliban captured Kabul. The latest official figures from the European asylum agency, EASO, show that in July, the number of applications by Afghans jumped by more than 20% from the previous month, to about 7,300.


BBC: US immigration: Thousands gather under bridge at US-Mexico border in growing crisis

Some 10,000 migrants have gathered under a US-Mexico border bridge over recent days, leading to a growing humanitarian crisis.

The bridge connects Del Rio in Texas to Mexico's Ciudad Acuña and the temporary camp there has grown with staggering speed in recent days.

The mostly Haitian migrants, who have crossed the Rio Grande, are sleeping under the bridge in squalid conditions.


World news

Guardian: Climate crisis leaving ‘millions at risk of trafficking and slavery’

Millions of people forced to leave their homes because of severe drought and powerful cyclones are at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking over the coming decades, a new report warns.

The climate crisis and the increasing frequency of extreme weather disasters including floods, droughts and megafires are having a devastating effect on the livelihoods of people already living in poverty and making them more vulnerable to slavery, according to the report, published today.


AlJazeera: Hundreds of aid trucks have failed to return from Tigray, UN says

Hundreds of aid trucks have not returned from Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region, and their disappearance is “the primary impediment” to ramping up the humanitarian response, the United Nations has said.

The disclosure on Friday from the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) comes amid rising fears of starvation deaths in Tigray, where the UN has previously estimated that about 350,000 people faced famine-like conditions.