Asylum Update 5th July 2011

5 July 2011


BEING A REFUGEE: learning and identity. By Linda Morrice - University of Sussex, describes lives of refugees before and after they arrive in the UK. It features stories of highly qualified professionals and shows how their experiences as refugees have significant implications for policy and practice.

The Human Rights Act and the Assault on Liberty: Rights and Asylum in the UK By Parnesh Sharma, is a result of over three years on in-depth fieldwork and research on the treatment of asylum-seekers in the UK and examines the role of rights in bringing social changes and whether a culture of rights is developing in the UK.

The real 'immigration debate'. By Frances Webber - IRR, is a keynote address to the annual conference of the Churches' Refugee Network that examines the key issues about the immigration debate in the UK, including "Who are the asylum seekers?"

Asylum seeker ‘vulnerability': the official explanation of service providers and the emotive responses of asylum seekers By Sophia Rainbird - Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal, explores the way service providers in East Anglia, in 2002-2003 represented asylum seekers as problematic and largely vulnerable dependents, pointing out potential development of an active dialogue between asylum seekers and the services that assist them can be considered.

Black, minority ethnic and refugee (BMER) communities and the National Dementia Strategy: the London experience By Truswell, David - Diversity in Health and Care, examines the role of black, minority ethnic and refugee (BMER) communities in the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy in London.

Mind your language: banning asylum or saving sanctuary? By Jonathan Cox - Open democracy. Following the Independent Asylum Commission's first report of conclusions and recommendations BBC reflected on how appropriate is the word "asylum and apart from this linguistic one, the report included other 64 recommendations.

‘It is about integration': The discursive construction of integration among professionals who work with asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland. By S Kirkwood -  The University of Edinburgh, seeks to address the criticisms concerning UK migration policies negatively affecting the integration of refugees, through the discursive analysis of interview data from people who work with asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland.

Gender, Asylum Seekers and Mental Distress: Challenges for Mental Health Social Work. By Khatidja Chantler - University of Manchester, engages with the critique that mental health social work with asylum seekers requires urgent attention, as current practice is inadequate. It discusses key aspects of the UK's current asylum policy and highlights the importance of maintaining a social model of understanding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Women seeking asylum in Merseyside: Access to support for survivors of sexual violence in conflict and civil unrest. By Vicky Canning - Women's Asylum News, outlines preliminary PhD findings from research in Merseyside exploring access to sexual violence support for women seeking asylum.

Young Female Asylum Seekers: Implications for Social Work Intervention By S Lees and J Lovett - British Journal of Social Work, documents the composition and social work response to this vulnerable group, and points out the profile and experiences of these young women both before and during their time in care.

New GDP Report: Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom. By Global Detention Project, is the updated section about immigration in detention in the UK, which includes related policies, detention of children, facts and figures and a section on detention of asylum seekers

Asylum and the path to citizenship:a case study of Somalis in the United Kingdom By Rebecca Tuck - UNHCR's Policy Development and Evaluation Service, analyses the major changes introduced by the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill and asses the impact of ‘active citizenship' on and refugee integration, choosing the Somali community as a case study.

Pro-asylum Advocacy in the EU: Challenging the State of Exception By H Hintjens, R Kumar and A  Pouri -  Transnational Migration and Human Security, explores examples of how pro-asylum advocates challenge the harsh measures used to punish those who try to enter or reside in the EU illegally, taking examples from The Netherlands and the UK.


Law and Policy

UK reports to CEDAW Committee the United Kingdom submitted its seventh periodic report to the UN Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in June 2011. The Asylum Aid May/June bulletin includes a summary of the chapter that is relevant to women seeking asylum.

UK Border Agency (UKBA) report - Asylum Improvement project progress report UKBA outlines the progress made so far on 25 elements of the project and explains the next steps for asylum reform.  

Home Affairs Committee report on immigration and asylum: government response Immigration Minister Damian Green has responded to a report by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on the work of the UK Border Agency.

The UK to stop using DNA tests to determine asylum seekers' nationality The UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced on 17 June that Britain will stop using DNA tests to identify the country of origin of African refugees. he "Human Provenance Pilot Project" started in 2009 with the aim of identifying the country of origin of asylum seekers through DNA and isotope testing, in order to determine if asylum seekers were "telling the truth about their country of origin". Such tests had been heavily criticised by scientists and highlighted the culture of disbelief towards asylum seekers within the border agency.

Asylum Seekers - deportations to Greece Asked whether they intend to recommence normal procedures in dealing with asylum applications and returns to Greece Baroness Browning responded that the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Greece had violated Article three of the European Convention on Human Rights that prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment both because of living conditions in Greece and the failure by the Greek authorities to properly consider his asylum claim. The Government accepts that these findings prevent the return of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin Regulation until the situation there has improved.

The United Kingdom would violate human rights of two Somali nationals if it returned them to Mogadishu - The European Court of human Rights ruled on June 26 that if the applicants were sent back to Mogadishu there would be a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights



UNHCR released 2010 Global Trends, which reveals that the 80% of the world's refugees are hosted by some of the poorest countries in the world. Furthermore, the report illustrates that asylum seekers' chances of being granted refugee status differ drastically from country to country within the European Union.

Written Answers - Home Department: Immigration: Asylum Asked how many applications for judicial review of decisions made by her Department in respect of immigration and asylum cases have been initiated in the last 12 months, Damian Green said that 7,620 judicial reviews were opened over the 12 month period between June 2010 and May

Written Answers - Home Department: Asylum: Appeals Asked what the average waiting time is for an unsuccessful application for asylum to be heard at a first tier tribunal.Damian Green responded: The average waiting time for an unsuccessful application or asylum to be heard at a first tier tribunal is 74 calendar days.
All figures quoted are provisional, based on management information and
are not subject to the detailed checks that apply for National
Statistics and may be subject to change.


Gay asylum claims not being counted despite pledge, admit ministers Six months on from making it, the UK government has failed to deliver on its promise to start collecting data on the number of people who claim or are refused asylum on the basis of their sexuality, and therefore prevent them from being sent back to situations of persecution.

Immigration detainees held for 'excessively long' periods Ministers have been warned by an official immigration watchdog of the "excessively long" periods, including cases of more than three years, that detainees are beingheld at Europe's largest removal centre

UK Border Agency struggles to deal with asylum application backlog Home Affairs Select Committee has published a new report on the work of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), pointing to the way how the agency deals with the backlog of approximately 450,000 unresolved asylum applications which was build up during 1990s and 2000s.

"Should we be upset by a silent ‘amnesty' of asylum seekers in the UK?" is a blog posting from Ruth Grove-White (Migrant Rights network), who argues why the word "amnesty" is distorting the facts and why we should look beyond this conclusion.

Reasons to be cheerful: 10 things to celebrate during refugee week By Tim Finch - Open Democracy.To mark the celebration of the Refugee Week, Tim Finch highlights ten positive features of the Refugee sector, noting that some of the 'best of British' are from refugee backgrounds

To mark World Refugee Day and Refugee Week 2011, the Home Secretary met people who have been given sanctuary in the UK after fleeing war and persecution in their home countries.


New Refugee Studies Centre Resource DVD to be published in July 2011 The RSC will soon release the latest edition of its Resource DVD including all RSC publications to date since its establishment on one easily searchable DVD available free of charge.

OxMo, the student journal dedicated to protecting and advancing the human rights of forced migrants, is currently accepting submissions for the second issue which will be published in September 2011. The new closing date for submissions is 15 July 2011.

International Detention Coalition to prevent unnecessary immigration detention The IDC has now launched its handbook, aimed at preventing unnecessary immigration detention globally & outlining good practice examples of alternatives to detention from around the world.

The Guardian produced an interactive map using UNHCR's latest statistics to show where refugees come from, where they go, and how many return.

Refugee Council London, moving to Own Language Telephone Advice Line Service (OLTAS)  In common with the East of England and West Midlands regional offices, the Refugee Council offices in London are now closed to drop-in clients and will be seen by appointment only. From 20 June, they will start to run OLTAS. Those needing appointments in London should call 0207 346 6777.

Children's Legal Centre published June Migrant Children's Project Newsletter, which comprises links to its own bank of resources, including its flagship website for young people, and training they can provide on the rights and entitlements of refugee, asylum seeking and migrant children, and how their needs best can be addressed.

Refugees and asylum seekers: The truth behind the myths The British Red Cross' toolkit on myths concerning asylum seekers and refugees and statistical data.

Refugee Week Scotland produced a short film titled Courage: 60 Years of the UN Refugee Convention

MRC is celebrating 60 years of the Refugee Convention and 5 years of The New Londoners


6 June, London: Home Sweet Home: an exhibition of photographs about Refugees, Migrants and Legal Aid

6 and 7 June, London: Refugee Council's training sessions on Key Issues in Asylum  and Introduction to Asylum Support. For information contact or visit the website

20 June, London: Support Options for Refused Asylum Seeking Women and Families The Asylum Support Appeals Project, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Association, is providing a free half days training. To book places please send an email to . For more information contact either Gerry or Sinead on 020 7729 3056

19 July, London. Equality Act 2010: Briefing on the act and how refugee, migrant and BME organizations can use it. RVSP to Poormina at or 01895 441530

22 July, London:  Babylon screening. A screening of the 1980 film exploring reggae culture in London followed by a one-off set from the soundtrack's composer.

2 August 2011, Glasgow. An introduction to working with asylum seekers and refugees. Scottish Refugee Council training providing a comprehensive understanding of core issues affecting those seeking sanctuary in Scotland. For information contact Jamie Spurway 0141 248 9799 /

5-7 October 2011 London, UK: A joint conference on migration and conflict from Positive Images and Justice and Fairness :To celebrate the conclusion of two successful international educational programmes, the British Red Cross will be hosting a three-day conference on migration and conflict. The conference will be of interest to education practitioners, organisations active in the fields of migration and conflict as well as Red Cross National Societies.


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