Group activities


List of activities the group has planned for 2023

This is a list of activities the Salisbury group has planned for you to note in your diaries. If you can offer to help that would be appreciated but coming along to say ‘hello’ is also welcome. If you are thinking of joining the group, coming along to one or other of these events is a good time to make yourself known and to meet some of us.

  • Coffee morning at St Thomas’s Church in the centre of Salisbury on 18 February starting some time after 10 am. finishing at noon.
  • Market stall in Salisbury market on 22 April. Early start and also finishing midday sometime. It would also be helpful if you have any items we could sell, please let us know if you have.
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo in the Salisbury Playhouse on 21 – 25 March with two matinees. The Playhouse has very kindly allowed us to have a stand in the foyer so we welcome seeing you there. Volunteers to help man the stand would be helpful as well.
  • People in the Park in Queen Elizabeth Gardens on 20 May, all day. This is the postponed event from last year.
  • Our next group meeting is on February 9th at 2pm
  • We are trying to agree a date for Evensong at the Cathedral and we will let people know the date once agreed.

We look forward to seeing supporters at one or more of these events.

Refugee report


January 2023

This is the monthly report on the refugee situation in the UK thanks to group member Andrew for producing it. Immigration and refugees continues to generate fierce debate in the UK particularly the problem of people arriving by boat having crossed the Channel.

In his speech in the New Year, the Prime Minister declared his intention, among other things, to resolve the issue of small boats crossing the Channel by making it illegal to arrive  by such means and to immediately arrest and deport anyone doing so. This proposal, if made into law, will undoubtedly meet opposition from the European Court of Human Rights, not to mention the House of Lords. The year’s total of boat arrivals ran up to 45,000.

The High Court in December declared the proposed removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda to be lawful. The matter is now under appeal, to be decided by the end of this month (January). The ECHR’s original objection to the policy under Article 3 of the Convention may be reactivated once the appeal is over.

The PM also pledged in his speech to abolish the backlog of asylum cases by the end of the year. The number of decision makers at the Home Office is planning to be quadrupled to 2,400 in pursuit of this aim. The biggest problem he may face, though, is that the Home Office is presently more prone to accept claims than to reject them, obviating the PM’s desire to remove most of the applicants.

Immigration from Albania has been in the news due to a spike in the numbers. While the government maintains that the country is safe to return arrivals to (and the Albanian government agrees!), the issue of “blood feuds” has been touted as one of the reasons for the increase. The government’s view is that there is sufficient protection in Albania for potential victims.

This month marks the anniversary of the establishment of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, under which legal routes to settlement in the UK were to be offered. Three pathways were established, 1 for people already here, 2 for those referred by the UNHCR and 3 for those who had worked for the UK. Some 5,000 arrivals were planned for the first year, 20,000 in total. The latest available figures indicate that 6,300 have been given indefinite leave to remain (i.e. pathway 1), four have arrived by pathway 2 and none by pathway 3. Thanks to Caroline Lucas and File on 4 for pointing this up.

The Windrush scandal, the subsequent review made various suggestions, among which was the creation of a Migrants’ Commissioner. It is believed that the Home Secretary is minded to abandon this plan, and also to forego planned extension to the powers of the independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

Finally, in a ruling over the Christmas period, the High Court ordered the Home Secretary to increase the weekly support rate for asylum seekers to £45. This was unusual in that the judge used the advice from civil servants to make a mandatory order. There has been no sign that the Home Secretary is likely to appeal.

AH

Death penalty report


We are pleased to attach the death penalty report for December 2022 – January 2023 prepared by group member Lesley. Iran features prominently in this report with a spate of executions planned or already carried out following the widespread protests taking place around the country. Note, as ever, that China is not mentioned despite executing more of its citizens than any other country because details are a state secret.

Iran execution imminent


January 2023

It is feared that Iran is about to execute a British/Iranian man, Alireza Akbari, for allegedly spying. It is reported today (11 January) that he has been moved into solitary confinement which is a possible sign of imminent execution. He claims to have been tortured in prison and forced to confess to spying which he denies. The claim that he did so for a reward of perfume and a silk shirt does seem unlikely.

Iran’s human rights record is dismal and it is currently engaged in putting down protests violently.

Urgent Action: Iran


We attach an urgent action in relation to Iran where the authorities are using the death penalty to silence critics. Iran is already one of the world’s major executioners. In 2021 they executed at least 341 itself an increase on the previous year. If you have time to write that would be appreciated. [don’t forget to put your address on the rear of the envelop and do not use a Christmas stamp].

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/2023-01/FI10322_1.pdf?VersionId=YgIsWFGoUEyufoRFyZWcKdkSwOgGWT20

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