The current refugee situation

UPDATE: 11 June 2022: The court has ruled in favour of the government on Friday so the deportations to Rwanda can go ahead. There is an appeal on Monday.

With the completion of the passage of the Nationality and Borders Bill into law, most of the concentration this month has been on the plans for offshoring failed asylum seekers to Rwanda. However, it is worth noting that the provisions of the Bill do not all come into force immediately, as it will be a couple of months before some changes to immigration rules can be completed, and some changes are dependent on when “commencement orders” are made. On 28th June about a third of the provisions will become live; they include the two-tier refugee status, inadmissibility and third country removal rules at the heart of the Act; the new or toughened criminal offences in section 40; and the power to require people who don’t need a UK visa to get an electronic travel authorisation.

On Rwanda, legal representation has been made against the lawfulness of the action, by a group of legal and charitable organisations, plus the civil service trade union. The plan remains to send the first claimants to Africa on the 14th June.

The government website states: The government’s world-leading Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda has taken its final administrative step, as the Home Office has begun issuing formal removal direction letters to those who are set to go to Rwanda where they will be able to rebuild their lives in safety.

The Home Office itself, in its assessment of the plan, noted problems in several areas, such as a lack of staff and training, the independence of the appeals process, shortage of legal advice and risks to LGBTQ+ refugees. They note that Rwanda currently holds 127,000 refugees mostly from the DRC. It is also noteworthy that Whitehall set up a body to review the accuracy of official documents on Rwanda, but this may be a victim of proposed civil service cuts.

Of those who have been informed of their imminent departure, 10 people have withdrawn their applications to stay, which may count as a success for the policy… The others are presently in detention, despite the Home Office saying it would issue notices of intent while seekers were living in the community. It has also been noted that a recently-arrived boatload of mainly Sudanese refugees have been detained; they had not been assisted by people smugglers in their journey.

More positively, amendments to the regulations on private lives will allow young migrants 15 years lawful  residence rather than the 10 years for older migrants, and children born in the UK can apply for residence when they have been here for 7 years, rather than receiving a 2 ½ year visa.

Some statistics:

Between September 2020 and September 2021:

  • 203 failed asylum seekers were sent home. 737 left voluntarily. These figures compare with some 20,000 in 2005, and are indicative of the relatively high success rates for applicants currently. However, delays in processing have resulted in a record 109,000 applicants awaiting a decision as of March 2022.
  • About 75% of applicants for asylum are successful; since leaving the EU and the “Dublin agreement”, the UK has identified some 13,000 cases where the migrant could be returned to another EU country, but has only actually “returned” 75.
  • In 2021 843,538 visas were issued to non-EU migrants (many of them student visas, and a large number from Hong Kong and Afghanistan). Relatedly, of seasonal work visas issued, interestingly 67% were to Ukrainians (8% Russians). This year there is a shortage of up to 75% as a result (10,000 extra visas have been promised but nothing seems to have resulted).

The suggestion that asylum seekers should be sent to a facility at Linton-on-Ouse is being opposed by the local inhabitants, who have pointed out that there is no legal aid facility in the area.

The number of boat people arriving across the Channel remain high this year, believed to be currently approaching 10,000. A quarter of the arrivals are from Afghanistan, despite the existence of the ACRS scheme.

On the Ukrainian front, latest figures indicate that 136,000 applications for visas have been made, 115,000 received and 65,000 migrants have arrived. This works out at 10 per 10,000 population. Germany’s equivalent figure is 87 per 10,000 population.

Finally, a comment from Twitter:

Suicidal client in immigration detention has been told they are unable to provide counselling and instead has been sent a trauma handout pack in English (language he cannot understand). Suggestions include “try a new haircut” and “play an instrument.”

Andrew Hemming


We are pleased to report that the number of views to this site was an all-time record in 2021 at 8,375. This is an increase of 28% on 2020 itself a record. Well over six thousand were from the USA and just under a thousand from the UK. A surprise is over 200 from PRC, China where almost certainly sites such as this are blocked due partly to our references to the abuses of the Uyghurs.

We wish a happy New Year to our readers and followers.

MP’s surgeries

MP murdered while holding a surgery

A key part of our democracy is the ability of individuals to make contact with their member of parliament and this is usually done in a surgery which can be in a number of settings. People sometimes forget that the system has improved in recent times and the days when MPs were seldom seen in their constituencies has long gone. The great majority of MPs have regular meetings in their constituencies with organisations of varying kinds as well as with individual constituents.

The recent murder of Sir David Amess was a huge shock. The Salisbury group has only recently met our MP, Mr John Glen, to express our concerns – along with over a hundred other organisations – about a series of bills currently before parliament which we believe will seriously inhibit our human rights. The chair of our group wrote a letter to the Salisbury Journal published on 21 October 2021 thus:

Following the tragic death of Sir David Amess last week, I am writing to say how much we value the tradition of MPs’ surgeries.

My group had a meeting with John Glen earlier this month, where we were able to exchange views on current [proposed] legislation in a respectful way; while we had our disagreements, we took note of each other’s views and departed amicably. It is vital that this kind of relationship continues between us and our representatives, and it would be a sad day indeed if restrictions on this process were deemed necessary.

We would urge parliament and the government to do everything they can to keep local surgeries going even with whatever enhanced security may be appropriate to protect the lives of our elected MPs

Andrew Hemming, Chair, Salisbury Amnesty International

Did Music Create Human Rights? — Later On

The first successful labor strike took place at Deir el-Medina—the same place where songs of personal expression were born. Mere coincidence? Ted Gioia writes at The Honest Broker: The first songs to express personal emotions and individual aspirations appeared more than 3,000 years ago in Deir el-Medina, a village on the west bank of the Nile. […]

Did Music Create Human Rights? — Later On

The Weekly Round-Up: Rape Report and damning findings from the Morgan Inquiry — UK Human Rights Blog

This is a republished piece:

In the News: On Friday 18 June, the Ministry of Justice published the End-to-End Rape Review Report on Findings and Actions, which assesses how the system is currently failing rape complainants, and sets out a plan to return the volume of cases progressing to court to pre-2016 levels. In the two years it took to…

The Weekly Round-Up: Rape Report and damning findings from the Morgan Inquiry — UK Human Rights Blog

April minutes

We attach minutes of the April meeting held via Zoom thanks to group member Lesley for preparing them and thanks also to group member Jonathan for hosting the meeting on Zoom. A full meeting with items on North Korea and the Death penalty among other things. There are links also to two podcasts we have been able to produce for the first time, one on two Christians at risk of execution in Pakistan for alleged apostasy and the other on Grand Prix motor racing and its involvement with sports washing.

The group is concerned – along with many others – at the current government’s desire to abolish the Human Rights Act and the review currently underway will be watched closely.

Sudan: Killing of Human Rights Defender Faisal Yousef Mohamed

IAPL Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers


Faisal Yousef Mohamed

On 17 January 2021, human rights defender Faisal Yousef Mohamed was killed in his house in El Genena city, West Darfur by unknown individuals from armed militant groups. Two of the human rights defenders brothers were murdered in the same incident.

Faisal Yousef Mohamed was human rights defender and paralegal training to become a lawyer. The human rights defender was a member of Hay El Ameerya resistance committee, a committee that frequently organises peaceful demonstrations to promote civil and economic rights in Sudan. Faisal Yousef Mohamed was a member of El Geneana Para Legal Network, a network of paralegals who offered legal assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) in refugee camps in West Darfur. One of his main areas of human rights work was helping IDPs who had been victims of human rights violation seek justice by connecting them with lawyers.

On 16 and 17 January 2021, Faisal Yousef…

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Birthday greetings to Ali al Nimr

Saudi Arabia: Send a message to Ali al Nimr for his birthday

This is a post from Reprieve.

Ali al-Nimr will turn 26 years old on December 20, 2020.

He’s been locked away from his family for seven years, and on death row in Saudi Arabia for five.

His so-called ‘crimes’ include “explaining how to give first aid to protesters.” For that, Ali was tortured until he signed a ‘confession’.

Ali shouldn’t be on death row. He shouldn’t be alone on his birthday.  For further details see this link to a previous post.

Will you write a message to Ali for his birthday and remind him that he is not alone?

This the link to send a message.

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