Archive | February, 2010

Update: Calais Court Case

27 Feb

Yesterday SoS Soutiens o Sans Papiers, who are the association (from paris) officially renting the hangar went to court to make a legal challenge on the hangar remaining shut and blockaded.

Unfortunately the judge dismissed the challenge, and said that only 1 man could enter the building (the man who is on the rent contact).

The legal challenge was based on the principal that the space was not a public space but a private space with migrants being members of the association.

The judge believed the hangar was not in the publics interest, highlighting security and public order concerns.

So here we see the old argument that persecuting migrants (making them sleep in the cold, denying them rest and shelter) is in some way in the interest of society. Is denying people the freedom to self organise is a sign of public order?

It looks like this court decision is informed by 2 things.

1. A desire to continue the aggressive 10 year long and obviously failing immigration policy in Calais.

2. A perspective which categorises migrants as dangerous and unwanted threats to society.

There is a second court case on the 9th of march.

Justice can only be achieved when people are treated as equals and decisions are informed by their rights, not by political policy or xenophobia. Designated people as dangerous, threatening, ‘illegal’ because they are from another country is an attitude which perpetuates the aggressive policing in Calais.

It is this aggressive policing, combined with the physical border (a border which exists to prevent asylum claims from being made), which creates the problem of destitute migrants living in and around the town.

No Borders believe that only actions can be illegal. Another court decision like this one will merely serve to reinforce the unjust and failing policy in Calais. This will inflict more hardship upon people who are trying to exercise their rights of free movement and asylum.

No Borders, No Nations. No one is illegal

Suggested actions: Go to Calais to provide support and to resist. Send SIM cards to Calais (http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/) Protest to your local French Embassy or Consulate. Protest to Phil Woolas: UK immigration Policy drives the French response to migrants in Calais. Contact your local MP (http://www.theyworkforyou.com/) ask what they intend to do as your representative. Contact the press. Get involved in NoBorders

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Detention, Human Rights: The Government

25 Feb

Probably everyone is aware of what is happening at Yarl’s Wood. This month there have been 3 other developments in the use of Detention in the UK which highlight our Governments attitude towards it.

Firstly, there was a Council of Europe resolution of 28th Jan this year which criticises the overpopulation of detention centres, and the deterioration of conditions and safeguards for asylum seekers and irregular migrants. It also criticised the lack of fair access to legal support created by detention

more at http://www.ncadc.org.uk/Newszine115/%20CouncilEuropresolution.html

Secondly, on the 2 days ago February 23rd, ‘Human Rights Watch’ issued a report under the heading UK: ‘Fast Track’ Asylum System Fails Women

‘The ‘detained fast track’ system doesn’t meet even the basic standards of fairness. It is simply not equipped to handle rape, slavery, the threat of ‘honor killings,’ or other complex claims, and yet such cases are handed to it regularly.’

read the report at: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/02/19/uk-fast-track-asylum-system-fails-women

In fact, as noted by Alasdair Mackenzie of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association: ‘The process rushes a person through the decision-making process without time to gather the necessary evidence’.

So here are 2 pretty mainstream organisations directly criticising the UKs detention programme. Specifically the fast track system and specifically it’s effect upon women.

In particular Human Rights Watch focuses upon the effect of detention upon the vulnerable and the traumatised (the last people we should be denying protection to). When people are fast-tracked they are not provided with the time or the conditions they need to build trust and discuss their major experiences of persecution. And so their claims are often missing the most important bit.

Essentially they are silenced by the violent nature of detention, rushed through a complicated legal process and ejected as quickly as possible from the country. And we are asked to believe that this is ‘firm but fair’ decision making.

So what is the UK government response? To these reports, to the many other criticisms, to the hunger strikers at Yarl’s wood who are resisting this violence by starving themselves until enough people decide that this is an outrage?

Today http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/24/home-office-opt-out-asylum-eu-directive.

The Home Office is to opt out of a European directive which lays down minimum standards for the treatment of asylum seekers. A directive which exists ‘to ensure that the applicants have a dignified standard of living’.

And we will be opting out because…

‘That would stop us operating our existing detained fast-track system, which provides fast and fair decisions on the applicants who go through it. It is an excellent way of managing the sort of asylum claims that are capable of being decided quickly.’

Yarl’s Wood

23 Feb

What is really going on at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre? Why are 50 women detainees on hunger strike? The report the UK Border Agency does NOT want you to see.
Video

Movement – the No Borders Newsletter

22 Feb

The February issue of ‘Movement – the No Borders Newsletter’ is out now. For full details of the contents of issue four check out:
http://noborderswales.org.uk/2010/02/17/movement-4/

Download the .pdf here:
http://noborderswales.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/movement_four.pdf

You can find all the back issues and extensive links here:
http://movement-noborders.blogspot.com/

Help us make this Movement by sharing these links online. Better still print, photocopy and distribute copies in your local area.

Damning judgment on removal of children

19 Feb

Mr Justice Collins has given a scathing judgment in a grant of permission to a judicial review challenge to the practice of the Home Office’s Third Country Unit (TCU) in detaining and removing children to supposedly safe third countries such as Greece and Italy

for more: follow this link:

http://freemovement.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/damning-judgment-on-removal-of-children/

North East Solidarity with People in Calais

9 Feb

People from the North East are organising solidarity trips to Calais to support people without papers and their supporters who are facing increasing repression. No Borders and other groups have been working with people migrating through Calais to resist police violence and state oppression that has tried to systematically “disappear” them. The police eviction of a self-organised migrant centre on Sunday 7th February (see press release below) is the latest strike against people challenging the border regime.

Requests from Calais include solidarity actions, visits to Calais, donations of cash… see http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/ for more info and updates.

MIGRANT CENTRE EVICTED BY FRENCH RIOT POLICE IN CALAIS

Under instruction from the town authorities, the elite French CRS riot police today forcibly evicted the new Calais migrant centre – called Kronstadt Hangar – by smashing down the front doors, less than 24
hours after migrants and No Borders activists pushed through police lines to occupy the building, which has been legally rented by No Borders [1] and SoS Soutien aux Sans Papiers. [2]

Marie Chautemps said: “The Kronstadt Hangar was opened as a direct intervention into a winter of repression that the migrants in Calais have faced since their ‘jungle’ communities were destroyed in a cruel PR stunt, back in September.”

She continued that: “With the authorities blocking any attempts to create a place for migrants to shelter from constant police harassment or from the bitterly cold winter, the Kronstadt Hangar intervention was
made in the name of common human respect as well as resistance to an increasingly fascist EU border policy.”

On Saturday evening, about 100 migrants came to the warehouse with the intention of entering. They were met by two separate lines of French police on either side of the hangar. Shouting “freedom! freedom!”, the
migrants and No Borders activists pushed through the police lines and successfully occupied the hangar. donations of blankets, extra-clothes, basic mattresses and hot tea were provided for the migrants.

However, after a safe and secure night, 75 CRS police arrived on Sunday afternoon and forcibly evicted the new space by smashing down the front glass doors. 12 activists were arrested, but later released, while one was taken to hospital.

The police proceeded to trash the hangar and all the possessions inside, and have welded the entrance shut, so that it is now currently impossible for anyone to re-enter the warehouse.

In a press release issued earlier today, SoS Soutien aux Sans Papiers highlighted the joint agency between the French and UK governements, in operations such as these. [3] Just as there is increased collaboration between the governments on both sides of the channel, so there is an increase in resistance to the repressive policies of Szarkozy, implemented with the approval of the British government. Alex Parks said “The
authorities in Calais have been trying to remove migrants from Calais for years without success, because they are in denial about the terminal reality of the un-equal world we live in. This is not over, solidarity and resistance for the right to freedom of movement will continue in Calais.” [4]

http://www.calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com

ENDS

Notes to editors

[1] The No Borders network is a global movement of individuals and groups fighting for the right to freedom of movement for people, not just for the Lorries that make sections of European society rich. Since the No Border Camp held in Calais in June 2009, No Borders activists have had a constant presence in Calais under the banner of
Calais Migrant Solidarity. We have monitored and documented police
abuse and violent, collectively resisted evictions, organised
humanitarian aid distribution, and made direct interventions for the
rights of migrants.

[2] SoS Soutien aux Sans Papiers is a French organisation that fights for
freedom of movement for all and migrants rights. The 2 networks have
collaborated
since the No Borders Camp in June 2009.

[3] For example the joint charter flight that returned migrants to
Kabul at the end of last year.

[4] London No Borders are organising a protest at the French Consulate
Tuesday 9th February 12.30 in solidarity with those in Calais.

UKBA Culture: For anyone who hasn’t seen this yet

4 Feb

Perrett, 29, also alleges that one official boasted to her that he tested the claims of boys from African countries who said they had been forcibly conscripted as child soldiers by making them lie down on the floor and demonstrate how they shot at people in the bush.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/feb/02/border-staff-asylum-seekers-whistleblower#