Our fortnightly summary of ongoing advocacy initiatives, new research, government developments and useful resources. Contact us if you’d like to get this update directly into your inbox.
Advocacy and campaigning initiatives
Fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws – new resources and webinar
As the UK Government’s anti-refugee laws are implemented and begin to impact our communities following the passing of the Nationality and Border Act, we believe Local Authorities have a vital role to play in continuing to demonstrate local and regional opposition to these cruel measures and joining the fight to repeal the anti-refugee laws.
We have therefore created new resources to support you in calling on your Local Authority leaders to stand with their communities and pledge to fight the anti-refugee laws. The resources include:
A guide to the resources, including tips for passing a motion and a communications checklist;
A template motion through which Local Authorities can commit to sign the Fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws pledge; call for the repeal of the anti-refugee laws; work with local groups and people with lived experience to identify ways to mitigate the impact of the anti-refugee laws; and commit to becoming a Council of Sanctuary;
A template press release to help you spread the word if your motion passes;
We are also holding an online event on Tuesday 18th October at 1pm to come together to discuss the resources and share ideas, experiences and good practice in engaging and campaigning with Local Authorities. You can register for the event here.
If you have any questions or feedback about these resources, or if you use them to approach your Local Authority, please let us know!
Last week, the High Court heard the case against the Home Office’s plan to deport people seeking asylum to Rwanda, brought by the PCS Union, Care4Calais, Detention Action and eight individuals seeking asylum. Lawyers argued that the policy is unlawful as those removed to Rwanda face significant risk to their rights to be free from torture and inhuman treatment.
The Home Office claimed in their defence that Rwanda is a ‘fundamentally safe and secure country, with a track record of supporting asylum seekers’, and that safeguarding measures had been built into the scheme. However, documents disclosed at the trial revealed warnings from numerous Government officials had been provided regarding the unsuitability of Rwanda for the scheme, including concerns over severe human rights violations, concerns which were ultimately brushed aside. The court heard that notice of the policy was withheld from key stakeholders in order to inhibit their ability to critique it, while further evidence came to light regarding the lack of routes to accountability available.A further case challenging the policy, brought by Asylum Aid, is due to be heard on 10 October, after which the High Court will hand down a judgement on both cases.
Meanwhile, protests against the scheme have continued across the UK, with more to come as part of Together with Refugees’ ‘Fill the skies with hope’ action, including a protest in Bristol on 24 September.
Home Office and Government Developments
New PM and Cabinet
After her election as the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss has announced her cabinet, which includes Suella Braverman MP as the new Home Secretary. While the new Chancellor has in the past been supportive of the campaign for the right to work, the new cabinet has made its intentions clear to continue on a course of anti-migration rhetoric and policies. Since the announcement, Braverman has confirmed that stopping Channel crossings is her top priority as Home Secretary, with sources sharing her intentions to ‘double down’ on the Rwanda scheme and ‘substantially increase the use of detention facilities’ to house people seeking asylum.
Shortly before the new PM took office, Priti Patel tendered her resignation as Home Secretary to the outgoing Prime Minister. In her resignation letter and final appearance at Home Office Questions, she sought to defend her record, including on small boat crossings and on the Rwanda deal, while others have pointed out the damage caused by her approach.
Bill of Rights
After campaigning from organisations across civil society, the proposed Bill of Rights, which sought to remove the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights over UK law, has been shelved. However, reports indicate there will be further efforts to ‘overcome legal hurdles’ to the Rwanda plan under Braverman’s leadership.
ICIBI stakeholder survey
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has launched its annual stakeholder survey. The survey will seek stakeholders’ views on the ICIBI’s inspection plans; and also on their views and experiences of ICIBI’s work. The survey will remain open until 20 September.
Reports and research
Medical Justice report on Rwanda scheme
Medical Justice has launched powerful new research which evidences the harm which has been inflicted upon people targeted for removal to Rwanda under the Government’s plans.
Who’s Paying The Price? The Human Cost of the Rwanda Scheme speaks to people in immigration detention targeted for removal to Rwanda, including some people with histories of torture and/or trafficking. The research finds that even while the planned flight did not depart, there were severe impacts on individuals’ health and wellbeing, including exacerbating existing trauma.
IRR report on removal of citizenship
The Institute of Race Relations have published a report, ‘Citizenship: from right to privilege’, which examines the impact of Section 10 of the Nationality and Borders Act, which enshines the Government’s right to remove the citizenship of people with dual nationality without notice. The report is covered in the Guardian and you can share IRR’s social media post here.
Migration Exchange research
Migration Exchange (MEX) are conducting research to gather data and insight on the focus, size, shape, assets and gaps in the migration sector and independent funding landscape. This work is a follow-up to the 2020 report Taking Stock and Facing the Future.
MEX is seeking input into the design and delivery of this process, and will be holding an open session for anyone interested on 27 September from 10:30-12:00 on Zoom. Participants are asked to read the 2020 report ahead of the session (a summary is also available here). Register here.
MEX is particularly keen for smaller organisations and those led by people with lived experience of the immigration system to attend. A reimbursement for participation is available.
Just Fair shadow report on ICESCR
Just Fair is preparing an independent shadow report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), on behalf of civil society in England and Wales, ahead of the next review of the UK. They are hosting capacity building webinars for anyone who’s interested in contributing to learn more about the process, and writing support sessions for those that need assistance with their submissions. The deadline for submissions is 26 September 2022.
Resources, jobs, events and training
Free Movement guide on inadmissibility
Free Movement has published a briefing on the Government’s new rules on inadmissibility in respect of the Nationality and Borders Act.
Training on challenging refusals of Section 17 for families with NRPF
Project 17 is running a one day advanced course on challenging local authority refusals of Section 17 for families with NRPF on 29 September, 10am-3.30pm.
Anti-slavery protests outside Italian embassies
Freedom United and the Solidarity with Refugees in Libya Network are organising protests outside Italian embassies across Europe on 15 October, calling on the EU to take accountability for its role in perpetuating slavery and forced labour in Libya.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority is recruiting a Project & Policy Officer with a focus on asylum, migration and integration policy and projects. Closing date 18 September.
The British Red Cross is recruiting a Family Reunion Project Officer. Closing date 26 September.
What we’ve been reading, watching and listening to
This podcast with journalist Nicola Kelly, speaking about her experiences reporting on the Home Office