organization:home office

  • Unesco chair blasts ’discriminatory’ UK visitor visa system | UK news | The Guardian

    Temitayo Olofinlua, an academic, applied for a visa to come to Edinburgh from Nigeria for an European Conference on African Studies conference on 4 April. Despite submitting evidence of full sponsorship for her trip – as well as evidence of ties to her home, namely that she is married with children and a job – her application was refused.

    Her case worker told her she had been refused because “I am not satisfied that you are genuinely seeking entry as a visitor … or that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit.”

    Olofinlua’s refusal was eventually overturned and she is in Edinburgh, attending the conference. But, she said: “It’s time to abandon the UK as host for international African Studies conferences. The organisers did everything to make this an inclusive event. But hostile Home Office policy has dampened this. Other countries require you to declare if you have ever been denied an entry visa .”

    “Going through the experience has been tortuous,” added Olofinlua, who frequently travels and always kept to #visa conditions. “I lost money. I lost valuable time, thanks to the tedious process of applying and re-applying, making the overnight visit to Lagos then standing hours in line.”

    #royaume_uni #racisme #air_du_temps

  • ‘Prejudiced’ Home Office refusing visas to African researchers

    Academics invited to the UK are refused entry on arbitrary and ‘insulting’ grounds.

    The Home Office is being accused of institutional racism and damaging British research projects through increasingly arbitrary and “insulting” visa refusals for academics.

    In April, a team of six Ebola researchers from Sierra Leone were unable to attend vital training in the UK, funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of a £1.5m flagship pandemic preparedness programme. At the LSE Africa summit, also in April, 24 out of 25 researchers were missing from a single workshop. Shortly afterwards, the Save the Children centenary events were marred by multiple visa refusals of key guests.

    There are echoes of the wider #hostile_environment across the Home Office, with MPs on a parliamentary inquiry into visa refusals hearing evidence that there is “an element of systemic prejudice against applicants”. In a letter in today’s Observer 70 senior leaders from universities and research institutes across the UK warn that “visa refusals for African cultural, development and academic leaders … [are] undermining ‘Global Britain’s’ reputation as well as efforts to tackle global challenges”.
    #visas #UK #Angleterre #université #conférences #racisme

    Une sorte de #censure... je vais ajouter à cette métaliste :

  • EU citizens in UK at risk of ’Windrush-style catastrophe’, say MPs | UK news | The Guardian

    Rigolotte histoire d’arroseur arrosé.

    The government has been urged by MPs to urgently change its policy on EU citizens in the country if it is to avert a “Windrush-style catastrophe” in the years after Brexit.

    Politicians on the influential home affairs select committee said they had serious concerns about the design of the settlement scheme for EU citizens, launched by the Home Office two months ago.

  • Homeless asylum-seekers fall through the cracks in the UK

    When asylum-seekers register for asylum in Britain, having fled their home countries, they qualify for asylum support while their claim is assessed by the Home Office. This support should include safe, clean accommodation and a living allowance for food and other necessities.

    If the asylum-seeker’s claim is granted, they then gain refugee status, which means they can live in the UK as a settled person – they can then take on work or study, as they wish.

    If their claim is refused however, the asylum-seeker is given a strict 14-day deadline in which to lodge an appeal. This deadline is usually even shorter in practice, as it corresponds with the date provided on the refusal letter, which is usually dated a few days before it is received. If they do not lodge this appeal in time, they lose their right to remain in the UK, along with all forms of asylum support.

    While many would argue that this process – on paper – makes sense, there are certain flaws it presents when put into practice and when considered alongside the British government’s current attitudes towards asylum and immigration.

    The number of initial asylum denials which are overturned at the appeal stage year-on-year is rising. While in 2017 the number of rejected asylum claims which were granted on appeal was 57%, in 2018 this figure rose to 75% – in other words, three-quarters of all the asylum claims that were denied were later found to be genuine.

    This number shows the frequency with which the Home Office misjudges asylum claims in the first instance, begging the question, what happens to all the genuine asylum-seekers who do not lodge an appeal in time?

    Unable to return to their home countries, many turn to the streets and become part of the ever-growing UK homeless community.

    Homelessness in the UK is steadily rising. Shelter released analysis this winter that showed an increase of 13,000 people becoming homeless in 2018, with an average of 1 in every 200 people across the UK now homeless (including those sleeping on the streets and in temporary accommodation).

    In 2018, the outsourcing giant Serco, which is responsible for housing many asylum-seekers across the UK, launched a mass-eviction policy for those it deemed to be “failed asylum-seekers”. The contractor changed the locks on hundreds of asylum-seekers’ doors, including many who still had a legal right to remain in the UK. The occupants, most of whom were Glasgow-based, were then left to fend for themselves and many slept rough on the streets.

    This is one instance which shows the severity of the impact that the “hostile environment” policy has had on vulnerable people. The policy, which was first introduced by (then Home Secretary) Theresa May in 2012, targeted “illegal immigrants” with the sole aim of making the UK so inhospitable and unwelcoming to them that they would choose to “leave voluntarily”. It culminated last summer with the Windrush scandal, which saw hundreds of Windrush-generation citizens threatened and deported by the Home Office after their documents had been lost and destroyed by the Government. Following this, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has rebranded the policy, replacing “hostile environment” with the phrase “compliant environment.”

    Despite this change in name, the programs developed under the policy continue to impact the lives of legitimate migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.

    For example, asylum-seekers are still not able to work in most instances in the UK while they wait for the outcome of their claim. The only current exception to this is for those who are able to fill a role on the UK Shortage Occupation list. This list is a resource used by the British government showing the professions that cannot be filled with domestic workers. Roles on this list include chemical engineers, physical scientists and classical ballet dancers – all positions which most asylum-seekers (many of whom are from war-torn or less-developed countries where access to wealth and education is limited) cannot fill. Even if an asylum-seeker were able to fill one of these positions, that person could only do so after being in Britain for 12 months.

    It is this restriction that makes life even harder for vulnerable asylum-seekers, who are seeking much needed refuge in the UK. With no access to work, individuals are unable to save funds, making them entirely reliant on the GBP 5.50 per day that they receive as support. If they then have their initial claim refused, they have nothing to fall back on – no income and no network of work colleagues. It is no wonder then that asylum-seekers are turning to the streets, falling through the cracks of the system.

    It is vital that the asylum process is reviewed, to account for this issue. The UK is able to welcome those who are fleeing from persecution: we must continue to meet our responsibilities if we are to consider ourselves an ethical nation.
    #UK #Angleterre #hébergement #logement #réfugiés #demandeurs_d'asile #migrations #asile #SDF #sans-abri

  • Asylum seeker to sue UK for funding Libyan detention centres

    Ethiopian teenager says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour in centres part-funded by UK.

    A teenage asylum seeker from Ethiopia is planning to sue the government for its role in funding detention centres in Libya, where he says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour.

    The teenager, who turned 18 a few weeks ago, cannot be named. He lives in London and is waiting for the Home Office to determine his asylum claim. His legal action against the government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its contribution to funding these overseas centres is thought to be the first of its kind.
    Separated at sea: a Sierra Leonean father’s desperate fear for his boy
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    The Guardian previously revealed the terrible conditions in a network of 26 detention centres across Libya. The EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa provides some funding for the centres. DfID says that the funding it provides is used to improve conditions in the camps.

    Children have described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards. One said the conditions were like “hell on Earth”.

    The government insists the funding is necessary as part of a humane effort to dissuade people from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing. Arguing that migrant detention centres are the responsibility of the Libyan authorities, it is understood to have raised concerns over the treatment of detainees with the Libyan government.

    A spokeswoman previously told the Guardian: “We continue to help fund the European Union Trust Fund’s work to improve conditions for migrants in detention centres.”

    But critics see the Libyan camps as a way for European countries to prevent asylum seekers and other migrants from reaching Europe, and the UK’s involvement as another plank of the so called “hostile environment” to keep people out.

    Last year the UK government spent £10m in Libya on various initiatives, including the detention centres.

    The teenager who has begun the legal action against the government claims that officials are acting unlawfully in funding the detention centres and should stop doing so. He is also asking for compensation for the suffering he endured there.

    The boy’s legal team is calling on DfID to facilitate the relocation of the detention centres to the UK or other safe countries so that asylum claims can be safely processed. His lawyers have asked DfID to disclose the funding agreements between the UK and Libyan governments and any internal documents concerning the destination of UK funding in Libya as well as any untoward incidents in the centres.
    Inside the chaos and corruption of Tripoli, where militias rule the streets
    Read more

    The teenager fled persecution in Ethiopia because of his father’s political allegiances and finally reached the UK after a dangerous journey through Libya and across the Mediterranean.

    In Libya he suffered both at the hands of traffickers and in the detention centres, some of which are controlled by local militias.

    “The period I was detained and enslaved in Libya was a living hell,” he said. An expert medical report conducted in London identified 31 different lesions, including 10 on his face, which the doctor who examined him found provided “significant corroboration” of his account of repeated ill treatment.

    Many of those in the camps are from Eritrea but there are also asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

    James Elliott of Wilsons Solicitors, who is bringing the legal action on the teenager’s behalf, said: “DfID acknowledges that conditions in the camps are appalling. We are bringing this legal challenge because it is vital that UK taxpayers’ money is not used to allow places where men, women and children are subjected to torture, rape and slavery to continue to exist.”

    DfID has been approached for comment.
    #Libye #externalisation #UK #Angleterre #justice #centres_de_détention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #poursuite #viol #abus_sexuels #travail_forcé #Trust_fund #Trust_fund_for_Africa

  • UK sending Syrians back to countries where they were beaten and abused

    Refugees tell of being held in cages and even tortured in European countries including Hungary and Romania

    Britain is using EU rules to send asylum seekers from Syria and other countries back to eastern European states where they were beaten, incarcerated and abused, the Guardian has learned.

    Migrant rights groups and lawyers say the Home Office is using the rules to send people back to “police brutality, detention and beatings” in several European countries.

    The Guardian has spoken to refugees who were subjected to assaults as they travelled through Europe. The men tell of being held in “cages” in Hungary, waterboarded and handcuffed to beds by detention centre guards in Romania and beaten in Bulgaria.
    Britain is one of worst places in western Europe for asylum seekers
    Read more

    They now face being returned to those countries as, under the so-called Dublin law, asylum seekers are supposed to apply in their first EU country of entry.

    In 2015 more than 80,000 requests were made by EU countries for another government to take back an asylum seeker. The UK made 3,500 of these requests to countries around Europe, including Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Hungary.

    The Home Office claims it should be entitled to assume that any EU country will treat asylum seekers properly.

    The charity Migrant Voice has collected testimony from several refugees who are fighting removal from the UK to other European countries. Nazek Ramadan, the director of the charity, said the men had been left traumatised by their journey and their subsequent treatment in the UK.

    “We know there are hundreds of Syrians in the UK who have fingerprints in other European countries,” said Ramadan. “Many no longer report to the Home Office because they are afraid of being detained and deported away from their family in the UK. Those who have been forcibly removed often end up destitute.

    “These are people who were abused in their home country, sometimes jailed by the regime there. Then they were imprisoned again in Europe. They feel that they are still living in a war zone, moving from one arrest and detention to another.”

    The law firm Duncan Lewis recently won a key case preventing forced removals back to Hungary because of the risk that people might be forced from there back to their country of origin.

    The firm is also challenging removals to Bulgaria because of what the UN refugee agency has described as “substandard” conditions there. A test case on whether Bulgaria is a safe country to send people back to is due to be heard by the court of appeal in November.

    The situation could get even more complex as an EU ban on sending asylum seekers back to Greece is due to be lifted on Wednesday after a six-year moratorium.

    Krisha Prathepan, of Duncan Lewis, said: “We intend to challenge any resumption of returns to Greece, as that country’s asylum system remains dysfunctional and the risk of refugees being returned from Greece to the very countries in which they faced persecution remains as high as ever.”

    The Home Office says it has no immediate plans to send refugees back to Greece, but is following European guidelines.

    “We have no current plans to resume Dublin returns to Greece,” a spokesperson said, citing among other reasons “the reception conditions in the country”.

    She added: “In April 2016, the high court ruled that transfer to Bulgaria under the Dublin regulation would not breach the European Convention on Human Rights. If there is evidence that Bulgaria is responsible for an asylum application, we will seek to transfer the application.”

    Mohammad Nadi Ismail, 32, Syrian

    Mohammad Nadi Ismail, a former Syrian navy captain, entered Europe via Bulgaria and Hungary, hoping to join his uncle and brother in Britain.

    In Bulgaria he was detained, beaten and humiliated. “They stripped us and made us stand in a row all naked. We had to bend over in a long line. Then they hit us on our private parts with truncheons.

    “They would wake us at night after they had been playing cards and drinking. Then they would come and hit us or kick us with their boots or truncheons.”

    One day he was released and took his chance to leave, walking for days to reach Hungary.

    But in Hungary he was locked up again. “They took us to a courtyard of a big building where there were five or six cages, about 8ft [2.4 metres] square. Most of the people were African. Some of them had been in there for four or five days. Luckily we Syrians were allowed out after one night and I headed for the UK.”

    In the UK Ismail met up with the family he hadn’t seen for three years and applied for asylum immediately.

    Then a letter came, saying his fingerprints had been found in Bulgaria and he would be returned. After a month in detention he now reports every two weeks, waiting and hoping that the UK will let him stay.

    “I will not go back to Bulgaria. I still have hope that I can stay here legally and rebuild my life with my family who have always supported me,” he said.

    ‘Dawoud’, 34, Iranian

    Dawoud (not his real name) was 28 when he fled Iran after his political activities had made him an enemy of the government. His brother and parents made it to the UK and were given refugee status.

    When he was told by border guards that he was in Romania he had no idea what that meant. “I had never even heard of this country,” he said. He was put in a camp where “water dripped through the electrics – we were electrocuted often. Children and families screamed. We lived in fear of the wild dogs who circled the camp, attacking and biting us. We were given no food; we had to go through bins in the town nearby for scraps.”

    He escaped once, to the Netherlands, but was sent back.

    “I experienced several beatings, on all parts of the body. There were people covered in blood and they were refused medical help. They even waterboarded me. I thought I would die.”

    Finally he managed to reach his mother, father and brother in the UK. For two years he has lived in hiding, too scared to apply for asylum for fear of being sent back to Romania. But a few months ago he finally reported to the Home Office. A letter informed him that a request had been made to Romania to take him back.

    Dawoud shakes as he talks about his fear of removal, saying: “When I hear people speak Romanian in the street it brings back my trauma. I once fell to the ground shaking just hearing someone speak. I will kill myself rather than go back.”

    Wael al-Awadi, 36, Syrian

    Wael travelled by sea to Italy and was detained on arrival in Sicily. “They hit us with their fists and sticks in order to make us give our fingerprints. Then they let us go. They gave us nothing, no accommodation, just told us: ‘Go where you like.’ So many Syrians were sleeping in the streets.”

    When he reached the UK he was detained for two months before friends helped him get bail. A year and a half later, when reporting at the Home Office, he was detained again and booked on to a plane to Italy.

    He refused to go and a solicitor got him out on bail. His appeal is due to be heard later this year. “I left Syria to avoid jail and detention and here I have been locked up twice,” he said. “I can’t understand it. Why can’t they look at me with some humanity? I am mentally so tired. My children call me from Syria but I can’t speak to them any more. It is too painful.”
    #réfugiés_syriens #UK #Angleterre #Dublin #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Bulgarie #Roumanie #Hongrie #Italie #renvois #expulsions #renvois_Dublin

  • Asylum seeker to sue UK for funding Libyan detention centres

    Ethiopian teenager says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour in centres part-funded by UK.

    A teenage asylum seeker from Ethiopia is planning to sue the government for its role in funding detention centres in Libya, where he says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour.

    The teenager, who turned 18 a few weeks ago, cannot be named. He lives in London and is waiting for the Home Office to determine his asylum claim. His legal action against the government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its contribution to funding these overseas centres is thought to be the first of its kind.

    The Guardian previously revealed the terrible conditions in a network of 26 detention centres across Libya. The EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa provides some funding for the centres. DfID says that the funding it provides is used to improve conditions in the camps.

    Children have described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards. One said the conditions were like “hell on Earth”.

    The government insists the funding is necessary as part of a humane effort to dissuade people from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing. Arguing that migrant detention centres are the responsibility of the Libyan authorities, it is understood to have raised concerns over the treatment of detainees with the Libyan government.

    A spokeswoman previously told the Guardian: “We continue to help fund the European Union Trust Fund’s work to improve conditions for migrants in detention centres.”

    But critics see the Libyan camps as a way for European countries to prevent asylum seekers and other migrants from reaching Europe, and the UK’s involvement as another plank of the so called “hostile environment” to keep people out.

    Last year the UK government spent £10m in Libya on various initiatives, including the detention centres.

    The teenager who has begun the legal action against the government claims that officials are acting unlawfully in funding the detention centres and should stop doing so. He is also asking for compensation for the suffering he endured there.

    The boy’s legal team is calling on DfID to facilitate the relocation of the detention centres to the UK or other safe countries so that asylum claims can be safely processed. His lawyers have asked DfID to disclose the funding agreements between the UK and Libyan governments and any internal documents concerning the destination of UK funding in Libya as well as any untoward incidents in the centres.

    The teenager fled persecution in Ethiopia because of his father’s political allegiances and finally reached the UK after a dangerous journey through Libya and across the Mediterranean.

    In Libya he suffered both at the hands of traffickers and in the detention centres, some of which are controlled by local militias.

    “The period I was detained and enslaved in Libya was a living hell,” he said. An expert medical report conducted in London identified 31 different lesions, including 10 on his face, which the doctor who examined him found provided “significant corroboration” of his account of repeated ill treatment.

    Many of those in the camps are from Eritrea but there are also asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

    James Elliott of Wilsons Solicitors, who is bringing the legal action on the teenager’s behalf, said: “DfID acknowledges that conditions in the camps are appalling. We are bringing this legal challenge because it is vital that UK taxpayers’ money is not used to allow places where men, women and children are subjected to torture, rape and slavery to continue to exist.”

    DfID has been approached for comment.
    #Libye #justice #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #poursuites_judiciaires #violence #abus #UK #Angleterre

    • Le #mirage anglais : la #désillusion des migrants

      Après la périlleuse traversée de la Manche, 
des migrants déchantent au Royaume-Uni.

      Depuis plus de vingt ans et l’ouverture du tunnel sous la Manche, les camps d’infortune baptisés « jungles » se succèdent à Calais et aux alentours. Y survivent des Irakiens, des Afghans, des Érythréens, des Soudanais et des ressortissants de bien d’autres nationalités, en fonction des aléas géopolitiques, tous aimantés par cet Eldorado britannique qu’ils fantasment et aperçoivent depuis la plage, à une trentaine de kilomètres.

      D’infimes falaises obsédantes derrière les vagues grises agitées : ce paysage tempétueux est l’une des frontières européennes les plus difficiles à franchir, rendue prétendument étanche grâce aux millions d’euros versés chaque année par la Grande-Bretagne.

      Les infrastructures du port et de l’Eurotunnel, ultimes étapes avant leur escale finale – l’Angleterre – sont gardées comme des forteresses à grand renfort de barbelés, scanners, policiers...

      Les exilés tentent de passer cette lisière seuls, ou avec l’aide des cellules de passeurs souvent kurdes, implantées sur le littoral. En Grande-Bretagne, pensent-ils séduits, leur asile sera accepté, ils trouveront du travail, ou encore ils ne seront pas expulsés vers le premier pays d’Europe, responsable de leur demande d’asile, selon le règlement Dublin III.

      Une fois la Manche franchie, les migrants s’évanouissent dans la nature, s’expriment peu, par crainte d’être ennuyés par les autorités. Ils tentent de se construire une vie, dans l’anonymat. Le soi-disant Eldorado ne comble pas toujours leurs attentes.

      La majorité des demandeurs à l’asile – 30 603 en 2016, selon le Home Office (ndlr : équivalent du ministère de l’Intérieur) – sont Iraniens, puis Pakistanais, Irakiens, Afghans, Bangladais…

      Et au final, « 34 % des demandes sont acceptées, soit un taux moins élevé qu’en France – 40 % », souligne Magali Lambert, de La Cimade. Quant au règlement Dublin III, « il est appliqué comme en France. Tout migrant peut être renvoyé vers le premier pays responsable de sa demande d’asile ».

      Wira et Barzan (Kurdes irakiens)

      Le soleil transperce les nuages gris, illumine les docks.

      Le cri des mouettes couvre la respiration de la marée grise. Il est midi à Liverpool, les pintes de bières règnent sur les tables d’un pub cerné d’entrepôts de briques. Les Britanniques à l’accent scouse, typique de ce grand port du nord-ouest du Royaume-Uni, trinquent sur les quais.

      Devant leurs verres d’eau gazeuse, les Kurdes irakiens Barzan et Wira (prénoms modifiés à leur demande), eux, n’ont pas le goût à la détente. « La décision du Home Office est tombée il y a deux mois. On m’a rejeté, on ne veut pas de moi ».

      Barzan, 26 ans, détaille les justifications des autorités britanniques avec mépris.

      lls m’ont dit que maintenant je pouvais retourner en Irak, que ce n’était plus dangereux, que je pouvais être avec ma famille là-bas.

      Barzan, un Kurde irakien de 26 ans

      Son ami Wira, 36 ans, tente de le consoler, mais a peu d’arguments. « Je suis venu en Grande-Bretagne il y a quatorze ans, ma demande d’asile et mon appel ont été rejetés. Depuis, j’ai fait plus de douze demandes de réexamen [il n’y a pas de limites pour ces requêtes, il faut apporter de nouveaux éléments au dossier, ndlr]. C’est toujours non ».

      Wira est dans une zone grise : sommé de quitter le pays, il ne compte plus les années à errer, anonyme, entre les villes de Leicester, Wrexham et Liverpool.

      Wira et Barzan viennent d’Erbil et de Souleimaniye, dans la région autonome du Kurdistan irakien. L’Angleterre, ils l’ont fantasmée à plus d’une décennie d’écart. Le premier y a posé le pied en 2002, le second en 2016. « Ici, on pouvait gagner notre vie, la construire, du moins c’est ce que je pensais », résume Barzan.

      Son regard vert glacial se fait encore plus froid quand il repense au chemin parcouru. « Je suis venu par la Turquie, la Grèce, la route des Balkans en 2015 ». Il tente d’abord une première demande d’asile en Allemagne en 2015. Puis « neuf mois sans nouvelles », alors il se « reporte » sur la Grande-Bretagne.

      « Je suis resté des mois bloqué à Grande-Synthe (à 30 km de Calais) avant de réussir à passer, après une dizaine de tentatives, avec 24 autres personnes dans un camion de lots de shampoing ». Barzan se souvient : « Ce n’était pas la vie normale. Le temps était long. Tu ne savais pas combien de temps tu allais rester, ce que tu allais devenir ».

      En 2002, « tout était plus simple : ni contrôles ni policiers ni barbelés », lui répond Wira, qui a franchi la frontière à cette date. « Je suis resté trois jours à Calais et j’ai réussi dès le premier coup à passer dans un camion ». Les souvenirs de Wira sont légers et flous, ceux de Barzan tenaces et amers.

      Les deux hommes montrent leurs mains rouges et desséchées. S’ils n’ont toujours pas de statut de réfugié, ils ont un travail, l’une de leurs motivations pour venir en Grande-Bretagne.

      « On lave des voitures », explique Barzan. « Si tu es réfugié, en Angleterre, tu dois passer par le “car-wash” même si ça abime les mains, plaisante Wira, c’est dans une société de lavage de voitures que nous nous sommes rencontrés, beaucoup de Kurdes y travaillent, on trouve toujours. Au début on gagne 39 euros puis avec l’expérience 56 euros par semaine. Je travaille dans ce secteur depuis quatorze ans ».

      Et toujours non déclaré. « Trouver un job au noir, c’est facile en Grande-Bretagne, je ne me suis jamais fait prendre par les autorités. Il paraît que quelques patrons se prennent des amendes. Mais personnellement, je n’ai jamais vu aucun directeur avoir des problèmes ».

      Dans ce pays à l’économie libérale, le travail au noir représente près de 9,4 % du PIB en 2017, selon le magazine américain Forbes.

      On ne compte pas nos heures, on travaille six jours sur sept.

      Barzan, un Kurde irakien de 26 ans

      « Mais je crois qu’en fait c’est la norme, comme un cercle vicieux sans fin, analyse Wira. La Grande-Bretagne a besoin de nous, de main d’œuvre, pour les petits boulots. Mais en même temps, nous sommes rejetés, nous n’avons pas de droits ».

      Les compères remontent l’artère commerçante de Liverpool où se succèdent les magasins des grandes chaînes de prêt-à-porter. « C’est une très belle ville, mais je suis effrayé par le racisme, avoue Barzan. Tu le sens, le raciste, c’est celui qui te regarde comme quelqu’un d’inférieur ». Ils rejoignent un restaurant kurde aux murs blancs.

      Barzan déprime devant sa soupe de lentilles rouges. « Je suis perdu, je veux gagner ma vie mais dans une usine ou en tant que chauffeur de taxi, pas dans un “car-wash”, au noir ». Il songe au retour et évoque cet ami kurde qui lui « n’en pouvait plus d’attendre ». « Il est parti en Allemagne pour tenter de demander l’asile là-bas ».

      Comme lui, en 2017, quelque 966 personnes ont franchi irrégulièrement la frontière entre l’Angleterre et la France, selon l’Ocriest (Office central pour la répression de l’immigration irrégulière et de l’emploi d’étrangers sans titre). Souvent dissimulés dans les camions, ils ont finalement re-traversé la Manche en sens inverse, lassés de la dureté de ce pays dont ils avaient trop rêvé.

      Lire aussi : L’abandon des enfants migrants en France
      Ridire (Bédouin apatride)

      Ridire exhibe tout sourires ses cartes. « Ma première carte d’identité, ma première carte de crédit ». Des sésames dont il est fier et grâce auxquels il bénéficie d’une reconnaissance après un long passage à vide. « Dans tous les pays que j’ai traversés, j’étais considéré comme quelqu’un d’illégal, un terroriste, parce que j’étais un migrant ».

      Cet homme brun au teint hâlé traîne ses longues jambes sur un marché bouillonnant de Birmingham, sa commune d’adoption. « C’est une bonne localité pour recommencer une nouvelle vie, trouver un bon travail ». Entre les étals, les langues anglaise mais aussi pakistanaise, arabe ou chinoise se mêlent dans cette deuxième ville d’Angleterre qui abrite de nombreux réfugiés.

      Bédouin, Ridire est né sans papiers au Koweït.

      « Nous sommes bidoune [sans papiers, ndlr] et persécutés, le pays ne veut pas de nous ». Formant une famille d’apatrides avec sa mère et ses petits frère et sœur, ils prennent en 2010 le chemin de Damas, en Syrie, où Ridire travaille dans un hôtel.

      La guerre arrive, la fuite au Liban s’impose, dans un camp de réfugiés où l’attente devient interminable. Ils décident alors de rejoindre leur oncle, installé depuis des années en Grande-Bretagne.

      Son frère et sa sœur, mineurs, bénéficient d’un regroupement familial. Ridire emprunte la voie illégale : traversée de la Turquie, la Grèce, la route des Balkans, à l’été 2015.

      « J’ai rarement ressenti d’humanité, insiste Ridire. La seule fois c’était à Lesbos, avec des bénévoles qui m’ont parlé comme à quelqu’un de normal ». Une inhumanité qui s’accentue, d’après lui, lorsqu’il débarque à Grande-Synthe.

      « Je suis arrivé de nuit, avec ma mère. D’autres migrants nous ont dit de nous installer dans une tente. Le lendemain, à la lumière du jour, j’ai découvert le cauchemar : les rats, la boue... » Ridire est alors au camp du #Barosch de #Grande-Synthe, aux côtés de 2 000 migrants. Il y découvre le système des passeurs.

      « Des trafiquants sont venus me voir, m’ont dit “comme tu es Koweïtien, tu es riche, un passage te coûtera 2 500 euros” ». Dans le nord de la France, les trafiquants appliquent les tarifs de leurs « prestations » souterraines au faciès.

      Pour passer la Manche caché dans un camion, un ressortissant érythréen, réputé pauvre, paiera moitié moins cher qu’un Syrien, réputé riche, indique Ridire écœuré. Lui n’a pas d’argent. Les saisons passent à Grande-Synthe. Sa mère tombe malade, il parvient à la faire passer légalement en Grande-Bretagne, mi-2016.

      Seul, Ridire déchante. « Je pensais que j’allais mourir à Grande-Synthe. Un passeur qui me voyait dépérir m’a aidé. Un soir il m’a dit, “ok tu montes gratuit” dans un camion qui contenait des télévisions, de la farine, des pots en céramique… ».

      Sur le trajet, il pleure de joie. « Je me disais, je vais enfin avoir des droits. Le poids lourd s’est arrêté dans un village du centre, je suis sorti sous les yeux médusés du chauffeur – un Roumain je crois – en courant, trop heureux. Il n’a rien dit. J’ai appelé ma famille à Birmingham qui m’a envoyé un taxi ».

      Au bout d’un an, Ridire obtient son statut, le Koweït est jugé dangereux pour lui « il y a un risque d’extinction de la communauté (des Bédouins) à cause du mauvais traitement que nous subissons : pas de services, pas d’accès à l’éducation ni à la santé », justifie Ridire.

      Il peut aujourd’hui avoir accès au système de santé, étudie les mathématiques à la faculté, vit dans une maison avec sa mère. Les 42 euros hebdomadaires que lui verse le gouvernement l’aident à se nourrir.

      « D’ici quelques années, je travaillerai dans l’industrie du pétrole, je n’ai pas honte de dire que j’ai envie de bien gagner ma vie. L’Angleterre pour moi, c’est le business, c’est très différent de la France, où j’ai le sentiment que les gens sont plus amicaux ». Le pays réputé individualiste « casse quelques traditions et valeurs familiales, avoue-t-il. En ce mois de juin, c’est le ramadan, or mes frère et sœur n’ont pas le temps de venir dîner, ils disent qu’ils travaillent trop. Alors on s’appelle, mais on ne reste plus ensemble, comme au Koweït. S’il nous arrive une broutille, personne ne se déplace pour l’autre. Trop de travail, c’est souvent l’excuse ».

      Maintenant, Ridire espère obtenir d’autres droits. « J’aimerais pouvoir voter. Si j’avais eu ce droit, je n’aurais surtout pas voté pour le Brexit, qui ­m’inquiète et va nous isoler ».
      Henok (Érythréen)

      Henok chante des airs de rap en marchant sur les trottoirs bondés de Londres. Il slalome ce jour de juin entre les passants, près de la gare internationale de Saint-Pancras. Parmi la foule d’anonymes, personne ne s’attarde sur la bouille ronde du jeune Érythréen, cheveux en bataille, survêtement noir et petite sacoche.

      Sur le chemin de l’exil, Henok devait fuir les regards, « On me dévisageait alors que je voulais être discret, dit l’adolescent de 18 ans. Il était l’étranger. Aujourd’hui, je me sens libre ». Il avance serein entonnant des paroles sur Calais, qu’il a composées lui-même. La ville, jamais loin, le hante toujours. Car avec Tripoli, en Libye, Calais est l’escale de son ­parcours qui l’a le plus « choqué ».

      Parti seul d’un village près d’Asmara à 14 ans, il fuit le service militaire à vie de ce pays d’Afrique de l’Est sous la coupe du dictateur Isaias Afwerki.

      Pendant deux ans, Henok ne songe qu’à traverser les frontières. « Je voulais venir en Grande-Bretagne dès le départ. J’avais entendu par des amis déjà sur place qu’on trouvait du travail plus facilement en Angleterre qu’en Italie ou en France ».

      Son itinéraire se dessine : Soudan, Libye, Italie, France. Des milliers d’autres migrants l’ont fait avant lui, cela lui donne espoir, les photos de proches en Grande-Bretagne le soutiennent pendant son périple. Sans argent, il ne passe pas toujours avec des passeurs de frontières, « je me cachais seul dans les camions ».

      Lire aussi : Plus de cent soudanais renvoyés dans l’enfer libyen

      Henok insiste sur deux étapes qui l’ont traumatisé.

      À Tripoli en Libye et à Calais, j’ai lutté pour ma survie. Je pensais souvent à la mort.

      Henok, Érythréen de 18 ans

      Malgré sa jeunesse, elle est omniprésente dans la vie de l’adolescent. « En Libye, je suis resté bloqué à Tripoli, pendant trois mois, dans une maison de torture [les migrants nomment généralement ces bâtisses des connexions houses, surveillées par les passeurs, ndlr] ».

      Enfoncé dans le fauteuil d’un café cosy londonien, Henok exhibe une blessure sur sa main. « Ceux qui me gardaient me brûlaient, ils voulaient appeler mes parents pour avoir de l’argent contre ma liberté, mais mes parents n’ont pas de téléphone dans leur village ! ».

      Il perd la notion du temps, finit par embarquer pour l’Italie « Un jour de printemps 2015, dit-il évasif. J’avais trop peur, mais il fallait rejoindre l’Italie. C’était la mort en Libye, la mort dans l’eau ou l’Italie, pas d’autres options ». Il navigue sur la Méditerranée centrale dans un bateau en bois où s’entassent 383 personnes, avant d’être tiré des flots par un navire italien. « Le plus beau jour de ma vie, mais je n’arrive pas à le décrire, c’était trop fort ». Il marque un silence et sourit.

      Après cette frontière traumatisante, il reste à Henok une autre mer à traverser : la Manche. Et un second traumatisme, Calais. « Je suis passé facilement de l’Italie à la France par les Alpes, caché dans un camion, contre 30 euros. Calais, finalement, ça paraissait simple à franchir : la Manche est petite comparée à la Méditerranée ».

      Mais, bloqué dans la ville de la dentelle pendant un mois et deux semaines, il partage l’errance d’un sans-domicile avec d’autres Érythréens près du port de la ville, nourris par les ONG.

      Puis Henok découvre la traque, dit-il, de ceux dont tous les migrants connaissent l’acronyme à Calais : les CRS. « Presque chaque nuit, je tentais de me cacher dans des camions, avec des amis, sans passeur, les policiers n’étaient jamais loin. Au bout de quelques semaines, je me suis fabriqué un faux garrot pour faire croire que j’étais blessé et qu’ils me laissent tranquille ».

      Son ton s’accélère, il raconte nerveusement. « J’essayais de me glisser sous les châssis des camions, ou de rentrer dans les cargaisons dès que je voyais des poids lourds à l’arrêt. Je ne comptais pas les tentatives. Je me faisais prendre par les policiers, je recommençais le lendemain ».

      Cela devient un défi pour l’adolescent. « Je n’avais pas peur, je pensais à l’Angleterre toute la journée. La nuit, lors de mes passages, mes vêtements étaient déchirés à force de courir et tomber sur les routes ». Sa crainte principale : « Les chiens (renifleurs) du port qui finissaient toujours par me trouver planqué dans les camions alors que j’étais près du but ».

      Henok parvient à sauter dans un train de poids lourds qui file vers l’Eurotunnel.

      Quand j’ai compris que j’étais sous le tunnel, l’émotion était intense pas autant qu’en mer en Libye, mais presque.

      Henok, Érythréen de 18 ans

      Henok dépose sa demande d’asile dans les minutes qui suivent son arrivée à Douvres à l’automne 2015, dans un commissariat de la ville-frontière du sud de l’Angleterre.

      Le mineur est transféré vers Londres, où il est logé avec des travailleurs sociaux par le Home Office. Il obtient son statut de réfugié au bout d’un an, aidé par sa minorité car un retour en Érythrée est bien trop dangereux. « J’ai ce que je voulais, la sécurité et les études. Je veux devenir électricien et continuer le rap ».

      Mais après cette longue quête, une autre commence pour lui. « Je cherche mes parents et mon frère, dont je n’ai jamais eu de nouvelles depuis mon départ. Ils n’ont ni adresse ni Internet. Je pense à eux, ça me rend triste, je voudrais les faire venir, je ne sais pas ce qu’ils sont devenus et eux non plus ne savent rien de ma vie ».

      #dessins de #Elisa_Perrigueur

    • Arrivés en Angleterre illégalement, de nombreux mineurs isolés sont victimes des trafiquants

      Refoulés par le Home Office après des mois passés à Calais, de nombreux mineurs ont tout de même décidé d’atteindre l’Angleterre de manière illégale. Beaucoup ont disparu dans la nature et sont tombés aux mains des réseaux de trafiquants.

      Selon le quotidien britannique The Independent, de nombreux migrants mineurs dont le dossier a été refusé par le Home Office - le ministère anglais de l’intérieur - au moment du démantèlement de la « jungle » de Calais ont traversé la Manche par leurs propres moyens et sont tombés entre les mains de trafiquants au Royaume-Uni.

      Lors de la signature de l’amendement Dubs en mars 2016, le Royaume-Uni s’était engagé auprès de la France à accueillir 480 mineurs isolés présents à Calais et désireux de rejoindre l’Angleterre. Mais en octobre 2016, date du démantèlement de la « jungle », des centaines de mineurs non accompagnés ont vu leur demande déboutée par le Home Office.

      L’association Social workers without borders - qui avait mené une série d’évaluations sur plusieurs enfants de la « jungle » avant son démantèlement - rappelle que sur les 42 enfants signalés « dans le besoin », aucun d’entre eux n’a eu l’autorisation de rejoindre l’Angleterre.

      >> À lire sur InfoMigrants : Au Royaume-Uni, un migrant peut croupir des années en centre de rétention

      Bon nombre de migrants refoulés par les autorités britanniques ont donc tenté leur chance par la voie illégale. Beaucoup d’entre eux se sont ainsi retrouvés piégés dans des réseaux de trafiquants.

      Selon les dernières données du Centre d’information sur la traite des enfants (CTAC), sur les 293 jeunes arrivés en Angleterre clandestinement depuis mi 2016, seulement 103 personnes ont été localisées. Les autres - les 190 autres restants - ont tout simplement disparu dans la nature. À titre d’exemple, sur les 42 mineurs identifiés par Social workers without borders, neuf ont atteint le Royaume-Uni par leurs propres moyens et 14 sont toujours « introuvables ».

      « Quand ils n’ont pas d’argent, leur corps ou le trafic de drogue deviennent des monnaies d’échange »

      Selon le quotidien britannique, un adolescent soudanais placé dans une famille d’accueil a disparu quelques mois après son arrivée en Angleterre, en décembre 2016. « Je lui ai envoyé un message mais je n’ai pas eu de réponse », déclare à The Independent Sue Clayton, une universitaire qui lui avait rendu visite. « Il était clair que les choses ne se passaient pas bien pour lui en Angleterre. Il est probable qu’il travaillait pour le compte d’un trafiquant (…). Il m’a dit que sa mère était très malade et que sa famille avait besoin d’argent ».

      The Independent met également en avant le cas d’un garçon de 16 ans qui a été « pris en otage » par des trafiquants une fois arrivé au Royaume-Uni. Les malfaiteurs le retenaient car son père, installé en Angleterre, n’avait pas les moyens de payer les passeurs de son fils. Le jeune homme a pu être libéré grâce à l’intervention de la police.

      Swati Pande, membre du CTAC, estime qu’il est fréquent que les enfants ayant traversé la Manche disparaissent ou ne soient jamais retrouvés au Royaume-Uni. « Rien n’est gratuit. Ces jeunes ont fait un si long voyage, ils doivent toujours de l’argent à quelqu’un », explique-t-elle au journal anglais. « Au cours de leurs voyages, nous savons qu’il peut y avoir des abus. Quelle est la monnaie d’échange de ces enfants ? Quand ils n’ont pas d’argent, leur corps ou le trafic de drogues deviennent des monnaies d’échange », continue-t-elle.

      Pour la députée anglaise Sarah Jones cité par The Independent, le gouvernement britannique a « tourné le dos aux enfants réfugiés de la ‘jungle’ et continue de le faire ». « Cette année marque le 80ème anniversaire du Kindertransport, quand notre pays a sauvé 10 000 enfants du régime nazi. C’est une honte que le sentiment anti-migrant de notre gouvernement s’étende même aux enfants les plus jeunes et les plus vulnérables », a-t-elle ajouté.
      Une critique injustifiée selon un porte-parole du Home Office qui rappelle que « l’an dernier, le Royaume-Uni a assuré la protection de 6 000 enfants et a également délivré 5 218 visas de regroupement familial, dont plus de la moitié était destiné à des enfants ». Reste que seuls 220 enfants ont été transférés en Angleterre depuis fin 2016, sur les 480 prévus par l’amendement Dubs.

  • 15 personnes poursuivies pour avoir tenté d’empêcher le décollage d’un charter de 57 expulsés (Ghana et Nigeria) en se couchant sur le tarmac (voir End Deportation latest newsletter :
    –-> reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop par Claire Rodier.

    #Stansted_15 : Amnesty to observe trial amid concerns for anti-deportation activists

    Amnesty considers the 15 to be human rights defenders

    ‘We’re concerned the authorities are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case’ - Kate Allen

    Amnesty International will be observing the trial of 15 human rights defenders set to go on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court next week (Monday 1 October) relating to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted airport.

    The protesters - known as the “#Stansted 15” - are facing lengthy jail sentences for their non-violent intervention in March last year.

    Amnesty is concerned that the serious charge of “endangering safety at aerodromes” may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights. The organisation has written to the Director of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General calling for this disproportionate charge to be dropped.

    The trial is currently expected to last for approximately six weeks.

    Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

    “We’re concerned the authorities are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case.

    “Public protest and non-violent direct action can often be a key means of defending human rights, particularly when victims have no way to make their voices heard and have been denied access to justice.

    “Human rights defenders are currently coming under attack in many countries around the world, with those in power doing all they can to discourage people from taking injustice personally. The UK must not go down that path.”

    #avion #déportation #renvois #expulsions #UK #Angleterre #résistance #procès #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières


    voir aussi la métaliste sur la #résistance de #passagers (mais aussi de #pilotes) aux #renvois_forcés :

    • The Stansted protesters saved me from wrongful deportation. They are heroes

      The ‘Stansted 15’ face jail for stopping my flight from taking off. They helped me see justice – and the birth of my daughter

      I’ll never forget the moment I found out that a group of people had blocked a charter deportation flight leaving Stansted airport on 28 March 2017, because I was one of the people that had a seat on the plane and was about to be removed from Britain against my will. While most of those sitting with me were whooping with joy when they heard the news, I was angry. After months in detention, the thought of facing even just one more day in that purgatory filled me with terror. And, crucially, I had no idea then of what I know now: that the actions of those activists, who became known as the Stansted 15, would help me see justice, and save my life in Britain.
      Stansted 15 convictions a ‘crushing blow for human rights in UK’
      Read more

      I first arrived in Britain in 2004 and, like so many people who come here from abroad, built a life here. As I sat in that plane in Stansted last year I was set to be taken “back” to a country that I had no links to. Indeed there is no doubt in my mind that had I been deported I would have been destitute and homeless in Nigeria – I was terrified.

      Imagine it. You’ve lived somewhere for 13 years. Your mum, suffering with mobility issues, lives there. Your partner lives there. Two of your children already live there, and the memory of your first-born, who died at just seven years old, resides there too. Your next child is about to be born there. That was my situation as we waited on the asphalt – imagining my daughter being born in a country where I’d built a life, while I was exiled to Nigeria and destined to meeting my newborn for the first time through a screen on a phone.

      My story was harsh, but it’s no anomaly. Like many people facing deportation from the United Kingdom, my experience with the immigration authorities had lasted many years – and for the last seven years of living here I had been in a constant state of mental detention. A cycle of Home Office appeals and its refusal to accept my claims or make a fair decision based on the facts of my case saw me in and out of detention and permanently waiting for my status to be settled. Though the threat of deportation haunted me, it was the utter instability and racial discrimination that made me feel like I was going mad. That’s why the actions of the Stansted 15 first caused me to be angry. I simply didn’t believe that their actions would be anything more than a postponement of further pain.

      My view isn’t just shaped by my own experience. My life in Britain has seen me rub along with countless people who find themselves the victims of the government’s “hostile environment” for migrants and families who aren’t white. Migration and deportation targets suck humanity from a system whose currency is the lives of people who happen to be born outside the UK. Such is the determination to look “tough” on the issue that people are rounded up in the night and put on to brutal, secretive and barely legal charter flights. Most take off away from the public eye – 60 human beings shackled and violently restrained on each flight, with barely a thought about the life they are dragged away from, nor the one they face upon arrival.
      Stansted 15 activists vow to overcome ‘dark, dark day for the right to protest’
      Read more

      I was one of the lucky few. My removal from the plane gave me two life-changing gifts. The first was a chance to appeal to the authorities over my deportation – a case that I won on two separate occasions, following a Home Office counter-appeal. But more importantly the brave actions of the Stansted 15 gave me something even more special: the chance to be by my partner’s side as she gave birth to our daughter, and to be there for them as they both needed extensive treatment after a complicated and premature birth. Without the Stansted 15 I wouldn’t have been playing football with my three-year-old in the park this week. It’s that simple. We now have a chance to live together as a family in Britain – and that is thanks to the people who lay down in front of the plane.

      On Monday the Stansted 15 were found guilty of breaching a barely used terror law. Though the jury were convinced that their actions breached this legislation, there’s no doubt in my mind that these 15 brave people are heroes, not criminals. For me a crime is doing something that is evil, shameful or just wrong – and it’s clear that it is the actions of the Home Office that tick all of these boxes; the Stansted 15 were trying to stop the real crime being committed. As the Stansted 15 face their own purgatory – awaiting sentences in the following weeks – I will be praying that they are shown leniency. Without their actions I would have missed my daughter’s birth, and faced the utter injustice of being deported from this country without having my (now successful) appeal heard. My message to them today is to fight on. Your cause is just, and history will absolve you of the guilt that the system has marked you with.

    • Regno Unito, quindici attivisti rischiano l’ergastolo per aver bloccato la deportazione di migranti

      La criminalizzazione della solidarietà non riguarda solo l’Italia, con la martellante campagna contro le Ong che salvano vite nel Mediterraneo. In Francia sette attivisti rischiano 10 anni di carcere e 750mila euro di multa per “associazione a delinquere finalizzata all’immigrazione clandestina”. Nel Regno Unito altri quindici rischiano addirittura l’ergastolo per aver bloccato nella notte del 28 marzo 2017 nell’aeroporto di Stansted la deportazione di un gruppo di migranti caricati in segreto su un aereo diretto in Nigeria.

      Attivisti appartenenti ai gruppi End Deportations, Plane Stupid e Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants hanno circondato l’aereo, impedendone il decollo. Come risultato della loro azione undici persone sono rimaste nel Regno Unito mentre la loro domanda di asilo veniva esaminata e due hanno potuto restare nel paese. Nonostante il carattere nonviolento dell’azione, il gruppo che ha bloccato l’aereo è finito sotto processo con accuse basate sulla legge anti-terrorismo e se giudicato colpevole rischia addirittura l’ergastolo. Il verdetto è atteso la settimana prossima.

      Membri dei movimenti pacifisti, antirazzisti e ambientalisti si sono uniti per protestare contro l’iniquità delle accuse. Amnesty International ha espresso la preoccupazione che siano state formulate per scoraggiare altri attivisti dall’intraprendere azioni dirette nonviolente in difesa dei diritti umani. Il vescovo di Chelmsford, la cittadina dove si tiene il processo, si è presentato in tribunale per esprimere il suo appoggio agli imputati. La primavera scorsa oltre 50 personalità, tra cui la leader dei Verdi Caroline Lucas, la scrittrice e giornalista Naomi Klein, il regista Ken Loach e l’attrice Emma Thompson hanno firmato una lettera in cui chiedono il ritiro delle accuse contro i “Quindici di Stansted” e la fine dei voli segreti di deportazione.

      Nel Regno Unito questa pratica è iniziata nel 2001. Molte delle persone deportate hanno vissuto per anni nel paese; vengono portate via dai posti di lavoro, in strada o dalle loro case, rinchiuse in centri di detenzione, caricate in segreto su voli charter notturni e inviate in paesi che spesso non conoscono e dove rischiano persecuzioni e morte. Alcuni non vengono preavvisati in tempo per ricorrere in appello contro la deportazione. “Il nostro è stato un atto di solidarietà umana, di difesa e resistenza contro un regime sempre più brutale” ha dichiarato un’attivista.
      #UK #Angleterre #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité #criminalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #expulsions

    • Activists convicted of terrorism offence for blocking Stansted deportation flight

      Fifteen activists who blocked the takeoff of an immigration removal charter flight have been convicted of endangering the safety of Stansted airport, a terrorism offence for which they could be jailed for life.

      After nearly three days of deliberations, following a nine-week trial, a jury at Chelmsford crown court found the defendants guilty of intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act, a law passed in response to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

      The court had heard how members of the campaign group End Deportations used lock-on devices to secure themselves around a Titan Airways Boeing 767 chartered by the Home Office, as the aircraft waited on the asphalt at the airport in Essex to remove undocumented immigrants to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

      The prosecution argued that their actions, which led to a temporary shutdown of Stansted, had posed a grave risk to the safety of the airport and its passengers.

      The verdict came after the judge Christopher Morgan told the jury to disregard all evidence put forward by the defendants to support the defence that they acted to stop human rights abuses, instructing jurors to only consider whether there was a “real and material” risk to the airport.

      In legal arguments made without the jury present, which can now be reported, defence barristers had called for the jury to be discharged after Morgan gave a summing up which they said amounted to a direction to convict. The judge had suggested the defendants’ entry to a restricted area could be considered inherently risky.

      Human rights organisations and observers had already expressed concerns over the choice of charge, which Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty International, likened to “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. Responding to the verdict on Monday, Gracie Bradley, policy and campaigns manager at Liberty, called the verdict a “grave injustice” and a “malicious attack” on the right to peaceful protest.

      Dr Graeme Hayes, reader in political sociology at Aston University, was one of a team of academics who observed the trial throughout. The only previous use of the 1990 law he and colleagues were able to find was in 2002 when a pilot was jailed for three years after flying his helicopter straight at a control tower.

      “This is a law that’s been brought in concerning international terrorism,” he said. “But for the last 10 weeks [of the trial], we’ve heard what amounts to an extended discussion of health and safety, in which the prosecution has not said at any point what the consequences of their actions might have been.”

      In a statement released by End Deportations after the verdict, the defendants said: “We are guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm. The real crime is the government’s cowardly, inhumane and barely legal deportation flights and the unprecedented use of terror law to crack down on peaceful protest.

      The protest took place on the night of 28 March 2017. The activists cut a hole in the airport’s perimeter fence, the court heard. Jurors were shown footage from CCTV cameras and a police helicopter of four protesters arranging themselves around the front landing gear of the aircraft and locking their arms together inside double-layered pipes filled with expanding foam.

      Further back, a second group of protesters erected a two-metre tripod from scaffolding poles behind the engine on the left wing on which one of them perched while others locked themselves to the base to prevent it from being moved, the videos showed. In the moments before police arrived, they were able to display their banners, one of which said: “No one is illegal.”

      Helen Brewer, Lyndsay Burtonshaw, Nathan Clack, Laura Clayson, Mel Evans, Joseph McGahan, Benjamin Smoke, Jyotsna Ram, Nicholas Sigsworth, Alistair Temlit, Edward Thacker, Emma Hughes, May McKeith, Ruth Potts and Melanie Stickland, aged 27 to 44, had all pleaded not guilty.

      They will be sentenced at a later date.

    • Stansted 15: no jail for activists convicted of terror-related offences

      Judge says group ‘didn’t have a grievous intent as some may who commit this type of crime’.

      Fifteen activists convicted of a terrorism-related offence for chaining themselves around an immigration removal flight at Stansted airport have received suspended sentences or community orders.

      The judge decided not to imprison them after he accepted they were motivated by “genuine reasons”.

      Amid an outcry over what human rights defenders branded a heavy-handed prosecution, the group, who have become known as the Stansted 15, were convicted last December of endangering the safety of an aerodrome.

      They had broken into Stansted airport’s “airside” area in March 2017 and chained themselves together around a Boeing 767 chartered by the Home Office to deport 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. After a 10-week trial a jury found them guilty of the charge – an offence that carries a potential life sentence.
      We in the Stansted 15 have been treated like terrorists
      Emma Hughes
      Read more

      At Chelmsford crown court on Wednesday, Judge Christopher Morgan QC, dismissed submissions in mitigation that the group should receive conditional discharges for the direct action protest, which briefly paralysed the airport, saying they did not reflect the danger that had been presented by their actions.

      He said such action would “ordinarily result in custodial sentences”, but that they “didn’t have a grievous intent as some may do who commit this type of crime”. The mood in the court had lightened considerably at the start of the hearing when Morgan said that he did not consider the culpability of any of the defendants passed the threshold of an immediate custodial sentence.

      The heaviest sentences were reserved for three of the group who had been previously convicted of aggravated trespass at Heathrow airport in 2016.

      Alistair Tamlit and Edward Thacker were sentenced on Wednesday to nine months in jail suspended for 18 months, along with 250 hours of unpaid work. Melanie Strickland was sentenced to nine months suspended for 18 months, with 100 hours of unpaid work.

      Benjamin Smoke, Helen Brewer, Lyndsay Burtonshaw, Nathan Clack, Laura Clayson, Mel Evans, Joseph McGahan, Jyotsna Ram, Nicholas Sigsworth, Emma Hughes and Ruth Potts were each given 12-month community orders with 100 hours of unpaid work, while May McKeith received a 12-month community order with 20 days of rehabilitation.

      In mitigation, Dexter Dias QC said it should be taken into account that all acted to try to help individuals they perceived to be in danger. “The reason they wanted to prevent [the flight’s] departure is that they believed the welfare and safety of some of the people on that flight was at risk,” he said.
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
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      “In those circumstances the court historically in this country have considered that conscientious motivations offer quite significant mitigation.”

      Dias pointed out that 11 of those who had been due to be deported to west Africa that night remain in the country, including two of whom there were reasons to believe were victims of human trafficking, and two who were subsequently found to have been victims of human trafficking. “One of them had been raped and forced into sex work in several European cities,” he said.

      Kirsty Brimelow QC, who appeared to have been specially recruited for the mitigation after not acting for any defendant during the trial, told Morgan he must balance the defendants’ rights to protest and free association against the harm their actions caused the airport.

      Brimelow last year acted for three fracking protesters whose sentences were overturned by the court of appeal as “manifestly excessive”. She continually referred to that case as she told Morgan that he must consider the “proportionality” of the sentences.

      The defendants emerged from the court to a rousing reception from hundreds of supporters who had spent the day protesting outside. Tamlit said he was “relieved that’s over”.

      “It’s been a gruelling process,” he said. “The flight that went this morning [to Jamaica] put things in perspective. We might have been in jail tonight but people could have visited us and we would have eventually been released.

      “Not going to jail is a partial victory but we are going to keep campaigning to end charter flights, immigration detention and the hostile environment.”

      McKeith’s mother, Ag, said she was pleased at the relatively lenient sentence. But, she said she felt they ought not to have been convicted at all. “Despite the judge’s stern account, it’s simply not true that they endangered anybody at the airport,” she said. “The only people who were in danger were the people on the plane. I watched the trial all the way through and watched the prosecution trying to spin straw into gold, and they didn’t convince me.”

      Graeme Hayes, reader in political sociology at Aston University, who observed the entire trial, said: “Although the defendants have not got the custodial sentence, the bringing of a terrorism-related charge against non-violent protesters is a very worrying phenomenon. It’s so far the only case [of its type] in the UK, and points to a chilling of legitimate public dissent.”

      The defendants have already filed an appeal against their convictions. Raj Chada, of Hodge, Jones & Allen, represented most of them. “We will be studying the judgment carefully to review whether there are any issues that need to be brought up in the appeal,” he said.

      “It’s striking that nowhere was there any endangerment of individuals identified.”

    • Stansted deportation flight protesters have convictions quashed

      Group of 15 activists were prosecuted under anti-terror laws for blocking immigration removal flight in 2017

      Fifteen anti-deportation activists who were prosecuted under counter-terror legislation for blocking the takeoff of an immigration removal flight from Stansted airport have had their convictions quashed.

      In a judgment handed down by the court of appeal on Friday afternoon, the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, said: “The appellants should not have been prosecuted for the extremely serious offence under section 1(2)(b) of the 1990 Act because their conduct did not satisfy the various elements of the offence.

      “There was, in truth, no case to answer.”

      The ruling came more than two years after the 15 protesters were convicted following a nine-week trial of endangering the safety of an aerodrome, an offence under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

      It was the first time the terror-related offence, passed in 1990 in response to the Lockerbie bombing, had been used against peaceful protesters.

      The defendants said they were relieved by the decision. May MacKeith, 35, said that the time from their arrest in 2017 to Friday’s ruling put into perspective the experiences of people caught in the UK’s hostile environment immigration system.

      “It was frightening,” she said. “But all along, despite the draconian charge, we knew that our actions were justified. We’ve never doubted that the people on that plane should never have been treated that way by our government.” Of those due to be deported on the flight, 11 were still in the UK, with three granted leave to remain.

      In their appeal, lawyers for the defence argued the legislation used to convict the group was not only rarely used but also was not intended for the kinds of peaceful actions undertaken by their clients. They said the prosecution stretched the meaning of the law by characterising the lock-on equipment they used to blockade the runway as devices used to endanger life.

      Weighing the argument, Burnett said in his judgment: “The closure of the runway was undoubtedly disruptive and expensive, but there was no evidence that it resulted in likely endangerment to the safety of the aerodrome or of persons there.

      “The [deployment] of an unspecified number of police officers when the terrorist threat was severe may have increased the risks within the terminal, but there was no evidence to enable an inference to be drawn that endangerment was likely.

      “There may have been a slightly enhanced risk of a police officer slipping en route to the aircraft, but it would stretch both language and common sense to say that there was likely endangerment, both in terms of the probability of this happening and the seriousness of the consequences if it did happen.”

      Burnett added: “Both the crown’s case and the summing-up collapsed the distinction between risk and likely danger and treated the offence as if it were akin to a health and safety provision.”

      The defendants, all members of the group Stop Deportations, had taken part in a peaceful action that stopped a chartered deportation flight to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone from taking off on 28 March 2017. Members of the group cut a hole in the airport’s perimeter fence before rushing on to the apron at Stansted.

      Four protesters arranged themselves around the front landing gear of the aircraft, locking their arms together inside double-layered pipes filled with expanding foam. Further back, a second group of protesters erected a 2-metre tripod from scaffolding poles behind the engine on the left wing. One of them perched on top of the makeshift structure, while others locked themselves to the base to prevent it from being moved.

      In the moments before police arrived they were able to display banners, including one that said: “No one is illegal.”

      Although members of the group received suspended sentences or community orders, UN human rights experts wrote to the UK government expressing concern over the application of “security and terrorism-related legislation to prosecute peaceful political protesters and critics of state policy”.

      On Friday, rights groups including Amnesty International and Liberty welcomed the ruling. But Raj Chada of Hodge Jones & Allen, who represented the defendants, said questions remained as to why the then attorney general, Jeremy Wright, had authorised the use of the charge in the first place.

      He said: “It does make me uncomfortable that a British cabinet minister has authorised a terror charge against political opponents, that the lord chief justice has decided is completely inappropriate. The appellants should be told, why was this charge used in this way? What information did the attorney general have?”

    • Stansted 15: Activists who stopped migrant deportation flight have convictions overturned

      Lord Chief Justice says demonstrators have ‘no case to answer’ for offences they were charged with

      A group of activists who stopped a deportation flight leaving Stansted airport have had their convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal.

      They had been prosecuted following a protest in March 2017, where they ultimately prevented a charter flight that was due to deport 60 individuals to Africa.

      The group, known as the Stansted 15, were initially charged with aggravated trespass but the charge was changed to endangering safety at a public airport.

      All defendants denied the offence at trial, and said they were “guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm” to migrants on board the plane.

      On Friday, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, sitting with Mr Justice Jay and Ms Justice Whipple, overturned all 15 demonstrators’ convictions.

      Lord Burnett said the protesters “should not have been prosecuted for the extremely serious offence ... because their conduct did not satisfy the various elements of the offence. There was, in truth, no case to answer.”

      The judgment said the offence they were charged with was intended for “conduct of a different nature” after the campaigners’ lawyers told the Court of Appeal the offence used was related to terrorism and had been created in the wake of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

      May MacKeith, a member of the Stansted 15, said almost four years of legal proceedings “should never have happened”.

      “But for many people caught up in the UK immigration system the ordeal lasts much, much longer,” she added.

      “The nightmare of this bogus charge, a 10 week trial and the threat of prison has dominated our lives for four years. Despite the draconian response we know our actions were justified.”

      Raj Chada of Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors, who represented the Stansted 15, said the case should be a matter of “great shame” to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and attorney general.

      “Both have questions to answer as to why they authorised such an unprecedented charge,” he added.

      “Amnesty International adopted the 15 as human rights defenders, Liberty intervened in the case and even the UN, through their special rapporteurs, expressed concern, yet the case went forward.”

      In March 2017, the defendants cut through the perimeter fence of Stansted airport in Essex and used pipes to lock themselves together around a plane.

      The Boeing 767 had been chartered by the Home Office to remove 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone, and was stationary on the airport’s apron.

      The trial heard the defendants believed the deportees were at risk of death, persecution and torture if they were removed from Britain, and many were asylum seekers.

      Campaigners said that 11 of the 60 passengers remain in the UK, and included victims of human trafficking.

      The protesters, who all pleaded not guilty, were convicted in December 2018 of the intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990.

      A judge at Chelmsford Crown Court handed three defendants, who had previous convictions for aggravated trespass at airports, suspended prison terms and gave 12 defendants community sentences.

      Judge Christopher Morgan said alleged human rights abuses, immigration policy and proportionality did not have “any relevance” to whether a criminal offence had been committed.

      “In normal circumstances only a custodial sentence would have been justified in this case, but I accept that your intentions were to demonstrate.”

      United Nations human rights experts raised concern over the case and warned the British government against using security-related laws against protesters and critics.

      “We are concerned about the application of disproportional charges for what appears to be the exercise of the rights to peaceful and non-violent protest and freedom of expression,” a statement said in February 2019.

      “It appears that such charges were brought to deter others from taking similar peaceful direct action to defend human rights, and in particular the protection of asylum seekers.”

      The group received high-profile support from MPs and public figures, including the Bishop of Chelmsford.

      An open letter signed by dozens of politicians and academics in September condemned the practice of “secret deportation flights”, which came into renewed focus following the Windrush scandal.

      Amnesty International said the case was part of a Europe-wide trend of volunteers and activists being criminalised for helping migrants.

      Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s director, said the Court of Appeal ruling was a “good day for justice”.

      “The Stansted 15 will take their place in the history books as human rights defenders who bravely brought injustices perpetrated by the state into the light,” she added.

      “This case should never have been brought and there must be lessons learnt for how we treat human rights defenders in this country.”

      Lana Adamou, a lawyer for the Liberty human rights group, called the charges “an attack on our right to express dissent”.

      “All too often it is the most marginalised in society, and those acting in solidarity with them, who bear the brunt of over-zealous policing and crackdowns on protest, making it even more important for the government to take steps to facilitate protest and ensure these voices are heard, rather than find ways to suppress them,” she added.

      At November’s Court of Appeal hearing, lawyers for the activists told the court the legislation used to convict the 15 is rarely used and not intended for a protest case.

      In documents before the court, the Stansted 15’s barristers argued it was intended to deal with violence of the “utmost seriousness”, such as terrorism, rather than risks of “a health and safety-type nature” posed by those who have trespassed at an airport.

      Lawyers for the group also argued that the attorney general – who is required to sign off on the use of the legislation – should not have granted consent for the law to be used in this case, that the crown court judge made errors in summing up the case and in directions given to the jury.

      Barristers representing the CPS had said the convictions are safe and that the trial judge was correct.

      Tony Badenoch QC told the court: “We don’t accept that the act is constrained to terrorism and nothing else.”

      A CPS spokesperson said: “We will consider the judgment carefully in the next 28 days.”

      The 15 are: #Helen_Brewer, 31; #Lyndsay_Burtonshaw, 30; #Nathan_Clack, 32; #Laura_Clayson, 30; #Melanie_Evans, 37; #Joseph_McGahan, 37; #Benjamin_Smoke, 21; #Jyotsna_Ram, 35; #Nicholas_Sigsworth, 31; #Melanie_Strickland, 37; #Alistair_Tamlit, 32; #Edward_Thacker, 31; #Emma_Hughes, 40; #May_McKeith, 35; and #Ruth_Potts, 46.

  • Afghan father who sought refuge in UK ’shot dead by Taliban’ after being deported by Home Office.

    An Afghan man who sought refuge from the Taliban in the UK has been shot dead in his home town after being deported by the British government.

    Zainadin Fazlie had lived in London with his wife, who had refugee status, and their four British-born children. But after committing a number of minor offences, the 47-year-old was sent back to Afghanistan after 16 years in Britain, despite threats to his life.

    Last Friday, his wife Samira Fazlie found out he had been shot by Taliban forces after seeing an image of his dead body on Facebook.
    The 34-year-old told The Independent: “When I first heard, I felt like I had to stop living. When I saw that picture, I couldn’t even move from my bed. For three nights I didn’t sleep.

    “My eldest son was crying at my feet. He said mum, I didn’t know my dad was going to die. He said I can’t believe they sent my dad to the country where he was going to be killed by these people.

  • À #Calais, un #état_d’urgence opportun

    Depuis plus de 20 ans, la préfecture du Pas-de-Calais et la mairie de Calais utilisent tous les moyens pour empêcher les exilé·e·s, en route pour la Grande-Bretagne ou en attente de l’examen de leur demande d’asile en France, d’installer des lieux de vie, et pour empêcher les habitant·e·s et associations de leur venir en aide. Bien que la menace terroriste soit nulle dans le Calaisis, l’adoption de l’état d’urgence a donné les coudées franches aux autorités.

    La déclaration de l’état d’urgence, à la suite des attentats du 13 novembre 2015 à Paris et à Saint-Denis, a fourni l’occasion à la préfecture du Pas-de-Calais d’utiliser les pouvoirs dérogatoires prévus par la loi du 3 avril 1955 sur l’état d’urgence. Le président de la République avait en effet considéré, par son décret du 14 novembre 2015, que le péril combattu devait l’être sur l’ensemble du territoire métropolitain. Sauf qu’à Calais, il n’a pas été question un seul instant de combattre le terrorisme. À notre connaissance, le territoire calaisien n’a d’ailleurs jamais constitué un enjeu dans la lutte contre Daesh.

    L’objectif était donc ailleurs : depuis plus de 20 ans, pour empêcher l’apparition de lieux de vie d’exilés à Calais, le préfet a pris l’habitude d’utiliser tous les moyens à sa disposition. Très vite, les forces de l’ordre calaisiennes ont considéré qu’elles ne pouvaient se passer des pouvoirs extraordinaires posés par la loi du 3 avril 1955. Extra-ordinaires, car, pour la plupart, ces pouvoirs sont complètement étrangers au droit commun et permettent de porter des graves atteintes à la liberté d’aller et de venir des personnes.

    L’application de l’état d’urgence à Calais, qui n’aurait jamais dû avoir lieu, intervient dans un contexte particulier. En novembre 2015, environ 6 000 exilés vivent à Calais. Certains sont demandeurs d’asile en France, quelques-uns sont en errance, tandis que d’autres cherchent à rejoindre le Royaume-Uni par des moyens irréguliers rendus nécessaires par l’insuffisance des procédures légales, en particulier en matière de réunification familiale [1].

    À cette époque, la maire de la commune de Calais et la préfète du Pas-de-Calais se félicitent d’avoir finalement obtenu la disparition de l’ensemble des squats et lieux de vie d’exilés implantés en centre-ville, en les repoussant sur le bidonville de la Lande, zone marécageuse située aux abords de la rocade portuaire. Cet « encampement » en marge de la ville expose les exilés à des conditions de vie particulièrement indignes [2]. Les personnes « relocalisées » doivent s’y installer dans des abris de fortune, à proximité du centre Jules Ferry où sont distribués, en quantité insuffisante, des repas et où est proposé un service de douches, volontairement sous-dimensionné, pour vraisemblablement éviter de rendre le lieu trop attractif. Parmi les exilés, figurent de très nombreux mineurs isolés, parfois très jeunes. Plusieurs associations françaises et britanniques se mobilisent alors pour apporter aux exilés l’assistance que les pouvoirs publics refusent d’accorder.

    Mais, pour sa part, l’autorité préfectorale travaille essentiellement à mettre à l’écart cette population et à empêcher les tentatives de passage. Et, à la fin de l’année 2015, c’est un État, probablement à court d’idées pour freiner l’essor de ces tentatives et maîtriser le nombre d’exilés présents, qui va profiter de la déclaration de l’état d’urgence.

    Dissuader les tentatives de passages

    L’état d’urgence va d’abord être utilisé pour sécuriser la frontière. Pour empêcher les tentatives de franchissement de la frontière, les dispositifs de protection ont été renforcés en 2015. À la suite d’un accord passé entre le ministre de l’intérieur français et le ministre du Home Office britannique en septembre 2014, la zone portuaire [3] est littéralement fortifiée par l’érection d’une double clôture de deux et quatre mètres de haut, et qui s’étend sur près de trois kilomètres le long de la rocade menant aux embarcadères du port de Calais.

    Évidemment, cela ne suffit pas à ralentir le nombre important de tentatives de passage, cela ne fait qu’en déplacer le lieu de la mise en œuvre. L’on tente toujours de franchir la frontière aux abords de l’Eurotunnel ; en juin 2015, Theresa May, ministre du Home Office affirme devant la Chambre des communes qu’au total 30 000 tentatives de passages ont été constatées sur les dix derniers mois [4].

    Les ministres de l’intérieur français et britannique vont donc, par un nouvel accord, le 20 août 2015 [5], allouer des moyens supplémentaires à la sécurisation du périmètre de l’entrée du tunnel, par un dispositif de clôtures, de vidéosurveillance, de technologie de détection infrarouge et de projecteurs lumineux. Ce renforcement drastique de la surveillance et de la protection de plusieurs points de passage ne décourage pourtant pas les exilés. Il les contraint cependant à prendre de plus en plus de risques. À tel point qu’en 2014 et 2015, on compte 46 décès à la frontière (sans citer les blessés).

    Pour enrayer les tentatives de passage que le dispositif ne ralentit pas, l’État va sortir la carte de l’état d’urgence. L’une des prérogatives prévues par l’article 5 de la loi du 3 avril 1955 permet au préfet de département d’« instituer, par arrêté, des zones de protection ou de sécurité où le séjour des personnes est réglementé ». L’institution d’une zone de protection ou de sécurité est une mesure de police administrative attrape-tout, qui a pu, au début de la guerre d’Algérie, justifier d’importants déplacements de populations, des restrictions de circulation et même des assignations à résidence collectives, étant précisé que le non-respect de l’obligation imposée par l’autorité qui a institué la zone pouvait aboutir, comme le précise l’article 13 de la loi, à des peines d’emprisonnement. Alors que cette disposition devrait être maniée avec précaution, la préfète du Pas-de-Calais choisit de l’appliquer quelques jours après la déclaration de l’état d’urgence, le 1er décembre 2015, pour interdire la présence de piétons sur la rocade portuaire.

    Pourquoi une telle mesure ? L’article L. 2231-1 du code général des collectivités territoriales permet déjà à l’autorité de police (le maire ou le préfet) de réglementer, dans le cadre de ses pouvoirs ordinaires, les conditions de circulation sur les routes nationales. Mais surtout, une telle préférence donnée à la loi du 3 avril 1955 n’est pas compréhensible dès lors qu’aucun motif en lien avec l’état d’urgence n’est ici en cause, comme les commentateurs le soulignent [6]. Avec cet arrêté, ce n’est pas tant les aspects opérationnels de la zone de protection qui semblent intéresser la préfète du Pas-de-Calais, mais plutôt le label « état d’urgence », dont l’administration espère sûrement qu’il exercera un effet dissuasif sur les exilés tentés de passer. Mais, l’épouvantail ainsi créé n’a été d’aucun effet.

    L’obligation portée par cet arrêté a été massivement méconnue, pendant toute sa durée (la préfète du Pas-de-Calais ne parlait-elle pas, en octobre 2016, de plus de 30 000 intrusions piétonnes sur la rocade, chaque mois ?), sans qu’elle ne donne lieu, à notre connaissance, à des condamnations.
    Contrer le droit de manifester

    L’état d’urgence a également servi à restreindre le droit de manifester [7]. Là encore, ces limitations ont été régulièrement prononcées pour des motifs sans lien avec le risque d’attentats terroristes, au fondement de la déclaration de l’état d’urgence. Il a été instrumentalisé par le gouvernement pour assouvir des mobiles politiques et, tout particulièrement, pour contrer des manifestations hostiles à ses décisions. On connaît les assignations à résidence prises sur le fondement de l’article 6 de la loi du 3 avril 1955 contre des militants écologistes qui risquaient d’organiser des actions et des mobilisations au cours de la COP 21 (conférence internationale sur le climat qui s’est tenue au Bourget) ou encore les interdictions de séjour prononcées en application du 3° de l’article 5 de la loi du 3 avril 1955, contre des militants pour les empêcher de se rendre dans les secteurs où étaient organisées des manifestations contre la « loi travail ».

    À Calais, l’état d’urgence va permettre le gel du droit de manifester en soutien aux exilés. Lorsque, à la fin de l’année 2016, le démantèlement de la Lande de Calais est projeté, il est présenté par le gouvernement comme une grande opération humanitaire destinée à « sortir de la boue » les exilés qui y vivent et à leur permettre, par une (nouvelle) relocalisation – cette fois-ci vers des centres d’accueil et d’orientation – d’intégrer le dispositif d’asile de droit commun [8]. Les critiques de plusieurs associations – lesquelles n’y voient qu’une énième opération de déguerpissement sans solution pérenne pour les exilés arrivant à Calais – sont toutefois vives et risquent de brouiller le message du gouvernement [9]. De manière assez problématique, l’état d’urgence va de nouveau être mobilisé à Calais pour « invisibiliser » cette opposition.

    Ainsi, peu avant la destruction du bidonville de la Lande de Calais, deux manifestations de soutien aux exilés du bidonville sont organisées par la Coalition internationale des sans-papiers et migrants (CISPM), les 1er et 11 octobre 2016. Alors qu’elles n’ont aucun lien avec la lutte contre la menace terroriste, elles sont interdites par l’autorité préfectorale qui se fonde, sur l’article 8 de la loi du 3 avril 1955, qui prévoit que « les […] rassemblements de personnes sur la voie publique peuvent être interdits dès lors que l’autorité administrative justifie ne pas être en mesure d’en assurer la sécurité compte tenu des moyens dont elle dispose ». C’est en se prévalant de l’insuffisance des unités de police pour encadrer ces rassemblements que la préfète du Pas-de-Calais interdit ces manifestations dont l’une, pourtant, ne devait pas regrouper plus de 200 participants [10]. À ces deux dates, les forces de l’ordre étaient, comme on le sait, très nombreuses à Calais pour préparer l’opération d’évacuation du bidonville, qui allait intervenir quelques jours après. On peut dès lors s’interroger sur la sincérité de la justification avancée.

    Pouvait-elle, en outre, suffire à justifier qu’aucune manifestation ne se tienne (même organisée différemment et selon un autre trajet), alors que, à cette époque, il existait dans le débat public un important courant opposé au plan d’évacuation du bidonville, tel qu’il était projeté, et qui aurait mérité de pouvoir s’exprimer ? Le tribunal administratif de Lille, saisi de deux référés-liberté, a malheureusement rejeté le recours des organisateurs en arguant que des groupes d’ultra-gauche et d’ultra-droite pourraient s’y rencontrer pour s’y affronter et que les forces de l’ordre ne pouvaient en assurer le contrôle [11].

    Et c’est ainsi que, au cours du mois d’octobre 2016, l’expulsion de la Lande de Calais a été mise en œuvre sans qu’aucune manifestation publique ait pu avoir lieu.
    Démanteler le bidonville

    Les opérations de l’expulsion du bidonville de la Lande de Calais se sont déroulées en plusieurs étapes : d’abord, avec l’adoption des arrêtés du 19 janvier et du 19 février 2016 pour l’expulsion de la zone sud du bidonville : ensuite avec l’arrêté du 21 octobre 2016 pour l’évacuation de la zone nord. Là encore, l’état d’urgence a constamment été mobilisé.

    D’abord, il a joué le rôle d’alibi et de justification des mesures d’expulsion. Chaque arrêté a, en effet, été pris au visa de la loi du 3 avril 1955 sur l’état d’urgence, et retient, parmi ses motifs, que, « compte tenu de la prégnance, à un niveau très élevé, de la menace terroriste ayant justifié l’état d’urgence, les forces de sécurité doivent prioritairement être engagées dans la prévention de cette menace et ne peuvent être distraites et mobilisées, en nombre très important, pour lutter contre des troubles à l’ordre public récurrents liés à l’occupation de ce campement ». Autrement dit, par contamination, le régime d’état d’urgence a permis de légitimer des décisions qui, en temps ordinaire, auraient pu sembler trop sévères ou inadaptées. Le pire est sûrement qu’une telle acception était recevable pour le juge administratif comme l’atteste la jurisprudence trop peu exigeante du Conseil d’État qui retient que, pour le prononcé d’une mesure relevant du régime de l’état d’urgence [12] ou d’une mesure de droit commun [13], l’autorité de police peut, notamment, s’appuyer sur le fait que les forces de police ne doivent pas être distraites de leur rôle de lutte contre le terrorisme.

    Ensuite, l’état d’urgence a été utilisé à des fins opérationnelles, dans le cadre de ces expulsions. Ainsi, le 23 octobre 2016, la préfète du Pas-de-Calais crée une zone de protection sur l’ensemble du secteur de la Lande, dans laquelle le séjour, la circulation et le stationnement des personnes sont réglementés, du 24 octobre au 6 novembre 2016. Cette décision a pour principale implication de subordonner l’entrée sur la Lande à l’obtention d’une accréditation délivrée par la préfète.

    Une opération "humanitaire" attentatoire aux droits de l’Homme

    Ce dispositif parachève, en quelque sorte, ce qui avait déjà été entrepris avec les interdictions de manifestations : il vise à empêcher tout risque d’opposition. Le texte indique chercher à éloigner du bidonville les militants No Border jugés susceptibles de s’opposer physiquement au démantèlement. L’on découvre toutefois qu’aucune action de ce type n’a jamais été projetée. En outre, le dispositif cible large et éloigne les avocats de la zone de protection. Plusieurs d’entre eux, qui intervenaient sur le #bidonville, ne pourront pas retrouver leurs clients avant qu’ils soient dispersés dans des centres d’accueil et d’orientation, sur tout le territoire national, à l’issue de l’opération d’expulsion.

    Alors que des centaines de journalistes ont bénéficié d’accréditations pour assister à l’expulsion, plusieurs associations de soutien des exilés, présentes sur le bidonville, ont été tenues à l’écart. Certaines, qui y intervenaient avec le concours de l’État sur des questions de santé et de sensibilisation aux violences sexuelles, se sont vu refuser l’accréditation alors qu’elles y suivaient des exilés. Il en est allé de même pour l’association la Cabane juridique/Legal Shelter, qui avait pu, quelques mois auparavant, organiser la saisine du juge des enfants pour obtenir le placement provisoire de mineurs isolés étrangers du bidonville, et qui accompagnait encore près de 200 exilés victimes de violences policières ou engagés dans des démarches de demande d’asile et de réunification familiale.

    Quelques heures après l’adoption de cet arrêté, le Gisti, l’association Avocats pour la défense des droits des étrangers (ADDE), l’association calaisienne le Réveil voyageur et la Ligue des droits de l’Homme l’ont dénoncé dans le cadre d’un référé-liberté. Trop tard. La préfète du Pas-de-Calais l’abrogera quelques heures avant l’audience, en indiquant que l’opération d’#expulsion étant achevée, l’arrêté instituant la zone de protection n’avait plus d’utilité.

    Outre l’institution de cette zone de protection, la préfète du Pas-de-Calais a prononcé, en octobre 2016, quatre interdictions de séjour à l’encontre de militants. Un rapport parlementaire le note : ces dernières mesures n’étaient pas fondées sur le fait que la présence de ces derniers constituerait un risque d’attentat terroriste, ni même sur une dangerosité révélée par des #violences commises dans le passé, mais sur le simple fait que ces personnes auraient été vues aux abords de la première zone de protection créée le 1er décembre 2015 [14]. Parmi ces interdits de séjour figure un journaliste, auteur d’articles et de reportages témoignant de la dureté des #violences_policières à Calais.

    Jamais une opération « humanitaire » n’a mobilisé autant de prérogatives attentatoires aux libertés. Qu’importe. L’essentiel est, pour le gouvernement, que ce recours aux outils de l’état d’urgence ait permis d’atteindre l’objectif d’une expulsion éclair en trois jours.
    #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #fermeture_des_frontières #dissuasion #terrorisme #camps #campement #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux

  • University lecturers must remain educators, not border guards

    The increasingly stringent control of student migration by the Home Office is damaging both the integrity of our relationships as teachers with students and the future of our universities. It was for this reason that 160 academics signed a letter published in The Guardian against the ways in which this crackdown corrodes relationships of trust that are essential to learning.

    #home_office #frontières #frontières_mobiles #université #UK #Angleterre #gardes_frontières (#flexibilisation_introvertie, pour utiliser un concept de Paolo Cuttitta)

    Article de 2014, mais qui reste de très forte actualité !

    • UK academics oppose visa monitoring regime for foreign staff

      UK academics oppose visa monitoring regime for foreign staff
      UK university leaders are being urged to review their attitudes towards foreign staff and students, following fresh reports of visa holders being “unfairly monitored” and even threatened with home visits by nervous administrators.

      Institutions say that efforts to record the whereabouts of international employees and students on sponsored visas are necessary to comply with Home Office regulations, but union representatives argue that the requirements are being misinterpreted and create a “hostile environment” for foreign workers.
      One foreign academic employed by the University of Birmingham told Times Higher Education that they had become “confused and scared” after being told that they must report their attendance weekly or “risk deportation”.

      “I feel like I am not trusted, that I can’t do my job, that I’m assumed [to be] a criminal,” said the academic, who chose to remain anonymous. “Being constantly monitored in this way makes me feel like I don’t really want to be here…if I had an opportunity somewhere else I would consider leaving the UK.”

      A letter issued by Birmingham’s human resources department to international staff and seen by THE states that any individual who fails to report their attendance as well as any time spent off campus on a weekly basis will have their “name passed to the UK Border Agency”.

      Failure to comply may result in “disciplinary action and/or withdrawal of your certificate of sponsorship, and thereby your eligibility to remain in the UK”.

      Birmingham had to operate “within the requirements set out by the Home Office”, a university spokesman said. “Our priority is ensuring that we are supporting staff to remain in the UK.”

      Meanwhile, staff at the University of Sussex launched a petition last week calling on vice-chancellor Adam Tickell to “end the hostile environment” found towards “migrants, people of colour and Muslims” on campus, which they said had been made worse as a result of “immigration monitoring”.

      The Sussex branch of the University and College Union said that managers at the institution had chosen to interpret Home Office guidelines in a needlessly stringent manner. “Staff and students are made aware that if they are not able to attest to their whereabouts for 80 per cent of the semester, they risk having their [immigration] status withdrawn,” a spokesman said. “This is not necessary."

      Those on Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas were at one stage told to “expect home visits” if they chose to work out of the office, but the university has since admitted that this approach is “not feasible”, the UCU spokesman added.

      An email sent from one head of department on 10 April informs Sussex staff they must have “complete records of their movements at any given time” recorded via “electronic calendars, so if auditors turn up at any given time we can point to it”.

      “I found this procedure extraordinary,” said one academic, “and I am sure there would be revolt if this were imposed on everyone in the department.”

      A University of Sussex spokeswoman said that Professor Tickell was aware of the petition, and had “already clarified with members of our community why and how the university needs to comply with statutory regulations”.

      “Our policies and procedures are informed by UK and EU legislation, statutory regulations and duties and best practice,” she added.

      Separately, staff at UCL have written to the institution’s president, Michael Arthur, expressing “serious concerns” over rules that require staff to have “physical check-ins” with international students every three weeks in order to monitor visa compliance.

      The policy takes up staff time “in bureaucracy that is irrelevant”, “builds a culture of mistrust” and creates “added a time when we have increasing evidence about risks to student wellbeing and mental health”, the letter says.

      A Home Office spokeswoman said it remained “the responsibility of individual sponsors to develop their own systems to ensure they meet their reporting responsibilities”.

  • #Windrush compensation: call for evidence - GOV.UK

    Open consultation
    Windrush compensation: call for evidence
    Published 10 May 2018

    Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration


    This call for evidence process will run until 8 June 2018 and is the first step in making sure that the government provides redress for financial losses.

    This consultation closes at
    11:45pm on 8 June 2018

  • Asylum decision-maker : ’It’s a lottery’

    The Home Office has denied taking “arbitrary” decisions on asylum cases in order to meet deportation targets, but an asylum caseworker says staff have to work so fast that the results are a “lottery” - one that could result in people being sent home to their deaths. He contacted the BBC because he wants the public to know how the system operates. As he would lose his job if identified, we have called him “Alex”.

    L’auteure mentionne le fait que le #Home_Office ait utilisé le Lonely Planet pour montrer que le Vietnam est un pays sûr... Ici le passage dans l’article :

    When Asylum Aid represented a gay client from Vietnam recently, the Home Office caseworker referred to a Lonely Planet guide to establish whether or not it would be safe for him to return home. Based on the guide’s description of Ho Chi Minh city, the caseworker suggested it would be safe for him to go back.

    ... je me rappelle d’une conversation avec une juriste du CSP (Genève), qui avait utilisé, pour un recours contre une décision du SEM, le #Guide_du_Routard. Elle a montré au SEM que le récit de son mandant était vraisemblable quand il a répondu « je ne sais pas, il n’y a rien à voir » à la question de l’auditeur du SEM : « Dites moi le nom de 3 monuments présents dans votre ville d’origine »...
    #arbitraire #chance #audition #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Lonely_Planet #loterie #décisions_arbitraires #UK #Angleterre

  • #Windrush : portrait of a generation – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

    Next month marks the 70th anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush and the beginnings of Britain’s first Caribbean communities, now in the news following scandalous treatment by the Home Office. For a year, photographer Jim Grover has captured the lives of south London’s Windrush generation – at the domino club, in church and ‘still rocking to ska in our chairs’

    Windrush: Portrait of a Generation is at gallery@Oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1, 23 May-10 June


    • ’National day of shame’ : #David_Lammy criticises treatment of Windrush generation

      Labour MP says situation has come about because of the hostile environment that begun under Theresa May, as he blames a climate of far-right rhetoric. People who came to the UK in the 1950s and 60s are now concerned about whether they have a legal right to remain in the country. The government has admitted that some people from the Windrush generation had been deported in error, as Theresa May appeared to make a U-turn on the issue Some Windrush immigrants wrongly deported, UK admits.

    • Amber Rudd’s resignation letter in full and the Prime Minister’s response

      Amber Rudd has resigned as home secretary amid increasing pressure over the way the Home Office handled immigration policy.

      Her resignation came after leaked documents undermined her claims she was unaware of the deportation targets her officers were using.

      Downing Street confirmed Theresa May had accepted Ms Rudd’s resignation on Sunday night. She is the fifth cabinet minister to have left their position since the Prime Minister called the snap election in June 2017.

    • Black history is still largely ignored, 70 years after Empire Windrush reached Britain

      Now, 70 years and three to four generations later, the legacy of those who arrived on the Windrush and the ships that followed is being rightly remembered – albeit in a way which calls into question how much their presence, sacrifices and contributions are valued in Britain.
      #histoire #mémoire

    • Chased into ’self-deportation’: the most disturbing Windrush case so far

      As Amelia Gentleman reflects on reporting one of the UK’s worst immigration scandals, she reveals a new and tragic case.

      In the summer of 2013, the government launched the peculiarly named Operation Vaken, an initiative that saw vans drive around six London boroughs, carrying billboards that warned: “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.” The billboards were decorated with pictures of handcuffs and the number of recent immigration arrests (“106 arrests last week in your area”). A line at the bottom adopted a softer tone: “We can help you to return home voluntarily without fear of arrest or detention.”

      The Conservatives’ 2010 manifesto promise to reduce migration to the tens of thousands had been going badly. It was time for ministers to develop new ways of scaring immigrants into leaving and for the government’s hostile environment policy to get teeth. More than 170,000 people, many of them living in this country legally, began receiving alarming texts, with warnings such as: “Message from the UK Border Agency: you are required to leave the UK as you no longer have the right to remain.”

      The hope was that the Home Office could get people to “self-deport”, frightening them into submission. In this, politicians appeared to have popular support: a YouGov poll at the time showed that 47% of the public approved of the “Go home” vans. The same year, Home Office vehicles began to be marked clearly with the words “Immigration Enforcement”, to alert people to the hovering presence of border guards.

      Operation Vaken ran for just one month, and its success was limited. A Home Office report later found that only 11 people left the country as a result; it also revealed that, of the 1,561 text messages sent to the government’s tip-off hotline, 1,034 were hoaxes – taking up 17 hours of staff time.

      Theresa May’s former adviser Nick Timothy later tried to argue that the vans had been opposed by the prime minister and were only approved while she was on holiday. But others who worked on the project insisted that May had seen the wording on the vans and requested that the language be toughened up. Meanwhile, the Immigration Enforcement vehicles stayed, with their yellow fluorescent stripes and black-and-white checks, a sinister presence circling areas of high migration. Gradually, the broader strategy of intimidation began to pay off. Some people were frightened into leaving.
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
      Read more

      In my two years of reporting on what became known as the Windrush scandal, Joycelyn John’s experience was the most disturbing case I came across. Joycelyn arrived in London in 1963 at the age of four, travelling with her mother on a Grenadian passport as a British subject. She went to primary and secondary school in Hammersmith, west London, before working in hotels in the capital – including the Ritz and a Hilton.

      Some time around 2009, she lost her Grenadian passport, which contained the crucial stamp giving her indefinite leave to remain. She had trouble getting a new passport, because her mother had married and changed her daughter’s surname from Mitchell to John. Because she never registered the change, there was a discrepancy between Joycelyn’s birth certificate and the name she had used all her adult life. She spent several years attempting to sort out her papers, but by 2014, aged 55, she had been classified as living in Britain illegally. She lost her job and was unable to find new work. For a while, she lived in a homeless hostel, but she lost her bed, because the government does not normally fund places for people classified as illegal immigrants. She spent two years staying with relatives, sleeping on sofas or the floor.

      In that time, Joycelyn managed to gather 75 pages of evidence proving that she had spent a lifetime in the UK: bank statements, dentists’ records, medical files, tax records, letters from her primary school, letters from friends and family. But, inexplicably, this was not enough. Every letter she received from the Home Office warned her that she was liable to be deported to Grenada, a country she had left more than 50 years ago. She began to feel nervous about opening the door in case immigration officers were outside.

      A Home Office leaflet encouraging people to opt for a voluntary departure, illustrated with cheerful, brightly coloured planes and published about the same time as the “Go Home” vans were launched, said: “We know that many people living in the UK illegally want to go home, but feel scared of approaching the Home Office directly. They may fear being arrested and detained. For those returning voluntarily, there are these key benefits: they avoid being arrested and having to live in detention until a travel document can be obtained; they can leave the UK in a more dignified manner than if their removal is enforced.” This appeal to the desire for a dignified departure was a shrewd tactic; the idea of being forcibly taken away terrified Joycelyn, who saw the leaflets and knew of the vans. “There’s such stigma... I didn’t want to be taken off the plane in handcuffs,” she says. She was getting deeper into debt, borrowing money from a younger brother, and felt it was no longer fair to rely on him.

      When the hostile environment policy is working well, it exhausts people into submission. It piles up humiliations, stress and fear until people give up. In November 2016, Joycelyn finally decided that a “voluntary” departure would be easier than trying to survive inside the ever-tightening embrace of Home Office hostility. Officials booked her on a flight on Christmas Day; when she asked if she could spend a last Christmas with her brother and five sisters, staff rebooked her for Boxing Day. She was so desperate that she felt this was the best option. “I felt ground down,” she says. “I lost the will to go on fighting.”

      By that point, she estimated she must have attempted a dozen times to explain to Home Office staff – over the phone, in person, in writing – that they had made a mistake. “I don’t think they looked at the letters I wrote. I think they had a quota to fill – they needed to deport people.” She found it hard to understand why the government was prepared to pay for her expensive flight, but not to waive the application fee to regularise her status. A final letter told her: “You are a person who is liable to be detained... You must report with your baggage to Gatwick South Virgin Atlantic Airways check-in desk.” The letter resorted to the favoured Home Office technique of scaring people with capital letters, reminding her that in her last few weeks: “YOU MAY NOT ENTER EMPLOYMENT, PAID OR UNPAID, OR ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS OR PROFESSION.” It also informed her that her baggage allowance, after a lifetime in the UK, was 20kg – “and you will be expected to pay for any excess”.

      How do you pack for a journey to a country you left as a four-year-old? “I was on autopilot,” Joycelyn recalls. “I was feeling depressed, lonely and suicidal. I wasn’t able to think straight; at times, I was hysterical. I packed the morning I left, very last-minute. I’d been expecting a reprieve. I didn’t take a lot – just jeans and a few T-shirts, a toothbrush, some Colgate, a towel – it didn’t even fill the whole suitcase.” She had £60 to start a new life, given to her by an ex-boyfriend. She had decided not to tell her sisters she was going; she confided only in her brother. “I just didn’t want any fuss.” She didn’t expect she would ever be allowed to return to Britain.

      In Grenada, she found everything unfamiliar. She had to scrub her clothes by hand and struggled to cook with the local ingredients. “It’s just a completely different lifestyle. The culture is very different.” She was given no money to set her up and found getting work very difficult. “You’re very vulnerable if you’re a foreigner. There’s no support structure and no one wants to employ you. Once they hear an English accent – forget it. They’re suspicious. They think you must be a criminal if you’ve been deported.”

      Joycelyn recounts what happened to her in a very matter-of-fact way, only expressing her opinion about the Home Office’s consistent refusal to listen when I ask her to. But her analysis is succinct: “The way I was treated was disgusting.” I still find it hard to accept that the government threatened her until she felt she had no option but to relocate to an unfamiliar country 4,300 miles away. The outcome – a 57-year-old Londoner, jettisoned to an island off the coast of Venezuela, friendless and without money, trying to make a new life for herself – is as absurd as it is tragic.


      In April 2018, the leaders of 52 countries arrived in London for the Commonwealth heads of government meeting. The Mall was decorated with flags; caterers at Buckingham Palace prepared for tea parties and state dinners. In normal times, this summit would have been regarded as a routine diplomatic event, heavy with ceremony and light on substance. But, with Brexit looming, the occasion was seen as an important opportunity to woo the countries on which Britain expected to become increasingly reliant.

      A week before the event, however, the 12 Caribbean high commissioners had gathered to ask the British government to adopt a more compassionate approach to people who had arrived in the UK as children and were never formally naturalised. “I am dismayed that people who gave their all to Britain could be discarded so matter-of-factly,” said Guy Hewitt, the Barbados high commissioner. “Seventy years after Windrush, we are again facing a new wave of hostility.”

      Hewitt revealed that a formal request to meet May had been declined. The rebuff convinced the Caribbean leaders that the British government had either failed to appreciate the scale and seriousness of what was happening or, worse, was aware, but did not view it as a priority. It smacked of racism.

      By then, I had been covering cases such as Joycelyn’s for six months. I had written about Paulette Wilson, a 61-year-old grandmother who had been detained by the Home Office twice and threatened with deportation to Jamaica, a country she had left half a century earlier; about Anthony Bryan, who after 50 years in the UK was wrongly detained for five weeks; and about Sylvester Marshall, who was denied the NHS radiotherapy he needed for prostate cancer and told to pay £54,000 for treatment, despite paying taxes here for decades. Yet no one in the government had seemed concerned.

      I contacted Downing Street on 15 April to ask if they could explain the refusal to meet the Caribbean delegation. An official called back to confirm that a meeting had not been set up; there would be other opportunities to meet the prime minister and discuss this “important issue”, she said.

      It was a huge mistake. An article about the diplomatic snub went on the Guardian’s front page and the political response was instantaneous. Suddenly, ministers who had shown no interest were falling over themselves to express profound sorrow. The brazen speed of the official turnaround was distasteful to watch. Amber Rudd, then the home secretary, spoke in parliament to express her regret. The Home Office would establish a new team to help people gather evidence of their right to be here, she announced; fees would be waived. The prime minister decided that she did, after all, need to schedule a meeting with her Caribbean colleagues.

      There were a number of factors that forced this abrupt shift. The campaigner Patrick Vernon, whose parents emigrated from Jamaica in the 50s, had made a critical connection between the scandal and the upcoming 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks. A fortnight earlier, he had launched a petition that triggered a parliamentary debate, calling for an immigration amnesty for those who had arrived as British subjects between 1948 and 1971. For months, I had been describing these people as “Caribbean-born, retirement-age, long-term British residents”, a clunky categorisation that was hard to put in a headline. But Vernon’s petition succinctly called them the “Windrush generation” – a phrase that evoked the emotional response that people feel towards the pioneers of migration who arrived on that ship. Although it was a bit of a misnomer (those affected were the children of the Windrush generation), that branding became incredibly potent.

      After months of very little coverage, the BBC and other media outlets began to report on the issue. On 16 April, the Guardian reprinted the photographs and stories of everyone we had interviewed to date. The accounts were undeniable evidence of profound and widespread human suffering. It unleashed political chaos.


      It was exciting to see the turmoil caused by the relentless publication of articles on a subject that no one had previously wanted to think about. Everyone has moments of existential doubt about whether what they do serves a purpose, but, for two weeks last April, the government was held to account and forced to act, demonstrating the enormous power of journalism to trigger change.

      At the Guardian’s offices in London, a team of reporters was allocated to interview the huge number of emerging Windrush voices. Politicians were contacted by constituents who had previously been nervous about giving their details to officials; they also belatedly looked through their constituency casebooks to see if there were Windrush people among their immigration caseload; finally, they began to speak up about the huge difficulties individuals were facing as a result of Home Office policy.

      Editors put the story on the front page, day after day. Any hope the government might have had of the issue quickly exhausting itself was dashed repeatedly by damaging new revelations. For a while, I was unable to get through my inbox, because there were too many unhappy stories about the government’s cruel, bureaucratic mishandling of cases to be able to read and process. Caroline Bannock, a senior journalist who runs the Guardian’s community team, created a database to collect people’s stories, and made sure that everyone who emailed got an answer, with information on where to go for advice and how to contact the Windrush Taskforce, set up by Rudd.

      I found the scale of the misery devastating. One morning, I came into work to find 24 messages on my answerphone from desperate people, each convinced I could help. I wanted to cry at my desk when I opened a letter from the mother of a young woman who had arrived in Britain from Jamaica in 1974, aged one. In 2015, after being classified as an illegal immigrant and sent to Yarl’s Wood detention centre, she had taken an overdose and died. “Without the time she spent in Yarl’s Wood, which we understand was extremely unpleasant, and the threat of deportation, my daughter would be alive today,” she wrote. The government had been aiming to bring down immigration at any cost, she continued. “One of the costs, as far as I am concerned, was my daughter’s life.”

      Alongside these upsetting calls and letters, there were many from readers offering financial support to the people we interviewed, and from lawyers offering pro bono assistance. A reader sent a shoebox full of chocolate bars, writing that he wanted to help reporters keep their energy levels up. At a time when the reputation of journalism can feel low, it was rewarding to help demonstrate why independent media organisations are so important.

      If the scene at the office was a smooth-running model of professionalism, at home it was chaos. I wrote until 2am and got up at 5am to catch up on reading. I tapped out so many articles over two weeks that my right arm began to ache, making it hard to sleep. My dictaphone overheated from overuse and one of its batteries exploded. I had to retreat entirely from family life, to make sure I poured out every bit of information I had. Shoes went missing, homework was left undone, meals were uncooked. There was an unexpected heatwave and I was aware of the arrival of a plague of ants, flies and fleas (and possibly nits), but there was no time to deal with it.

      I am married to Jo Johnson, who at the time was a minister in May’s government. As a news reporter, I have to be politically independent; I let him get on with his job and he doesn’t interfere in mine. Life is busy and mostly we focus on the day-to-day issues that come with having two children. Clearly, there are areas of disagreement, but we try to step around anything too contentious for the sake of family harmony.

      But the fact did not go unnoticed. One Sunday morning, Jo had to go on television to defend Rudd, returning home at lunchtime to look after the children so I could talk on the radio about how badly the government had got it wrong. I can see why it looks weird from the outside; that weekend it felt very weird. I had only one brief exchange about the issue with his brother Boris, who was then the foreign secretary, at a noisy family birthday party later in the year. He said: “You really fucked the Commonwealth summit.”


      On 25 April, Rudd appeared in front of the home affairs select committee. She told MPs she had been shocked by the Home Office’s treatment of Paulette and others. Not long into the session, Rudd was thrown off course by a question put to her by the committee’s chair, Yvette Cooper. “Targets for removals. When were they set?”

      “We don’t have targets for removals,” she replied with easy confidence. It was an answer that ended her career as home secretary.

      In an earlier session, Lucy Moreton, the head of the Immigration Service Union, had explained how the Home Office target to bring net migration below 100,000 a year had triggered challenging objectives; each region had a removal target to meet, she said. Rudd’s denial seemed to indicate either that she was incompetent and unaware of how her own department worked, or that she was being dishonest. Moreton later told me that, as Rudd was giving evidence, colleagues were sending her selfies taken in front of their office targets boards.

      Rudd was forced back to parliament the next day. This time, she admitted that the Home Office had set local targets, but insisted: “I have never agreed there should be specific removal targets and I would never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people.” But, on 29 April, the Guardian published a private memo from Rudd to May, sent in early 2017, that revealed she had set an “ambitious but deliverable” target for an increase in enforced deportations. Later that evening, she resigned.

      When I heard the news, I felt ambivalent; Rudd hadn’t handled the crisis well, but she wasn’t responsible for the mess. She seemed to be resigning on a technicality, rather than admitting she had been negligent and that her department had behaved atrociously on her watch. The Windrush people I spoke to that night told me Rudd’s departure only shifted attention from the person who was really responsible: Theresa May.


      Joycelyn John was issued with a plane ticket from Grenada to England in July 2018. “A bit of me was ecstatic, a bit of me was angry that no one had listened to me in the first place,” she told me when we met at her still-bare flat in June this year. She had been rehoused in September, but the flat was outside London, far from her family and empty; council officials didn’t think to provide any furniture. Friends gave her a bed and some chairs, but it was months before she was able to get a fridge.

      In late 2018, she received a letter of apology from the then home secretary, Sajid Javid. “People of the Windrush generation who came to Britain from the Commonwealth, as my parents did, have helped make this country what it is today,” he wrote. “The experiences faced by you and others have been completely unacceptable.” The letter made her cry, but not with relief. “I thought: ‘What good is a letter of apology now?’ They ruined my life completely. I came back to nothing. I have had to start rebuilding my life from scratch at the age of 58.”

      She still has nightmares that she is back in Grenada. “I can feel the heat, I can smell the food, I can actually taste the fish in the dream – in a good way. But mostly they are bad memories.” The experience has upended her sense of who she is. “Before this I felt British – I just did. I’m the sort of person who would watch every royal wedding on television. I feel less British now. I feel I don’t belong here, and I don’t belong there.”

      While a government compensation scheme has been announced, Joycelyn, like most of the Windrush generation, has yet to receive any money. Since the government apologised for its “appalling” treatment, 6,000 people have been given documents confirming their right to live in the UK. Joycelyn is one of them. But, although her right to be here is now official, she hasn’t yet got a passport – because she can’t afford the fee. And she remains frightened. “I’m still looking over my shoulder all the time. I’m a nervous wreck.”

  • In Pictures: The pioneering Windrush generation, who arrived 70 years ago - BBC News

    The plight of members of the Windrush generation wrongly threatened with deportation was branded a “day of national shame”, after the home secretary apologised for their treatment.

    The pioneering Windrush generation, who arrived 70 years ago

    16 April 2018

    #Windrush deportation

    Pioneers from the Caribbean arrived in Tilbury, Essex, 70 years ago, marking the beginning of large-scale West Indian immigration.

    #migrations #asile #caraïbes #royaume-uni

  • Caribbean nations demand solution to ’illegal immigrants’ anomaly | UK news | The Guardian

    Caribbean diplomats have condemned the Home Office’s treatment of many long-term Commonwealth-born UK residents as “illegal immigrants”.

    They have called on the UK government to resolve an immigration anomaly that has left many people being denied health services, prevented from working, and facing destitution, detention and possible deportation despite having lived in the country for decades.

    #migrations #asile #caraïbes

  • Home Office plans to deny immigrants access to data ’are illegal’

    Digital rights campaigners threaten legal action if data protection bill clause is enacted Plans to deny millions of people the right to access immigration data held on them by the Home Office are illegal and will be challenged in court, the government has been told. Organisations representing up to 3 million EU citizens living in the UK and digital rights activists have written to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, giving notice that they will take legal action if a clause in the data (...)

    #RGPD #données_ #discrimination #OpenRightsGroup

  • UK police are now using fingerprint scanners on the streets to identify people in less than a minute | WIRED UK

    Police in the UK have started using a mobile fingerprinting system that lets them check the identity of an unknown person in less than a minute. Fingerprints collected on the street will be compared against the 12 million records contained in national criminal and immigration fingerprint databases and, if a match is found, will return the individual’s name, date of birth and other identifying information.

    Officers will only resort to fingerprint scanning if they cannot identify an individual by other means, says Clive Poulton, who helped manage the project at the Home Office. The devices might be used in cases where someone has no identifying information on them, or appears to be giving police a fake name. “[Police] can now identify the person in front of them – whether they are known to them or not known to them, and then they can deal with them,” Poulton says.

    There are currently two major national databases of fingerprints. The first, called IDENT1, contains fingerprints gathered by the police when they take someone into custody. Anyone convicted of a serious crime may have their fingerprints stored on the database indefinitely. People who were not convicted but are arrested or charged in connection with a serious crime may also have their fingerprints stored on the database for up to five years, or indefinitely if they were convicted of another crime.

    The other database, IABS, contains fingerprints collected from non-UK citizens when they enter the country. The Home Office had to build a new app that enables offers to easily search both of these databases simultaneously,but people fingerprinted using this system will have their details automatically deleted from the device as soon as the databases have been searched.

  • Dying Migrants Too Scared To See A Doctor For Fear Of Deportation, MPs Are Warned.

    Seriously ill migrants are too scared to seek medical treatment in the UK for fear of being deported, MPs were warned today.

    Experts told Parliament’s health select committee that data sharing systems between the NHS and Home Office leave many too scared to see a doctor, leading to people dying from treatable illnesses and pregnant women missing out on vital care.

    Marissa Begonia of Voice of Domestic Workers, which campaigns for recognition and representation for household workers, was reduced to tears as she explained how one woman died because she was too worried about seeking help for her persistent cough.

    “We had one member who died and never sought any hospitalisation or GP because she was too frightened,” she said.

    “She was not even aware of what kind of disease she had - she was just coughing very badly and just thought it was a cold.”

    Dr Lucinda Haim, a GP at Doctors Of The World, which provides treatment to those excluded from healthcare, said the organisation had seen many cases of pregnant women seeking help from them - or from accident and emergency departments in hospitals - because they were too scared to give their address to a GP.

  • Arte Reportage | Angleterre : après Calais…

    Ils vivent dans un des quartiers qui compte le plus de réfugiés en provenance de Calais. Arab Street… ils sont des milliers de Syriens qui forment ici une petite communauté qui s’entraide, qui fréquente les mêmes lieux et qui essaie de recréer tant bien que mal l’ambiance du pays natal.

  • Unaccompanied minors and secondary migration between Italy and the UK

    • There are important differences in the reception
    policies for unaccompanied children in Italy and the UK
    shaped by different welfare regimes and labour market
    set-ups; the scale and type of migration; and by the
    social networks of different national and ethnic groups
    in each country.
    • Young people are often aware of these differences and
    make decisions accordingly.
    • These differences undermine the idea of a Common
    EU asylum system or Common EU action plan for
    unaccompanied children.
    Dublin III family reunification procedures are not
    working effectively which means unaccompanied
    children who could under certain conditions be legally
    transferred from Italy to the UK and other EU states
    end up turning to irregular means and going ‘missing’.
    • Italy’s system for unaccompanied non-asylum
    seeking children, despite its problems, does provide
    pathways to legality and labour market integration for
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #UK #Italie #MNA #Dublin #disparitions #regroupement_familial #Angleterre

    • Uprooted and unprotected. A multi-agency approach to safeguarding children forced into migration through northern France

      The NSPCC’s Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) advises professionals in the UK on child trafficking cases and works with agencies around the world to prevent child trafficking.

      This report highlights learning from CTAC’s work with the Refugee Youth Service (RYS), safeguarding children who had lived in the Calais ’Jungle’. RYS refers children to CTAC when it suspects they have moved from France to the UK. CTAC then shares child protection information with relevant UK agencies and tries to establish the children’s whereabouts.

      This report is accompanied by a workbook for professionals to use with young people who have been forced into migration and may have stayed in camps in northern France. The resource is now available to social workers to help them better understand the needs of children who’ve been trafficked or are at risk of being trafficked.

      The questions in the workbook aim to help practitioners understand a young person’s journey from their home country to the UK, supporting practitioners to identify abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
      #France #Calais

    • Increase in number of missing migrant children possibly trafficked into UK

      A report from the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) highlights the growing number of migrant children who are unaccounted for by authorities in France and the UK, despite having been identified in the Calais camp as particularly vulnerable to trafficking.

      The NSPCC’s Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) began collecting referrals from the Refugee Youth Service (RYS) in 2016 to monitor the well-being of unaccompanied migrant children in Calais’ former ‘Jungle’ camp, due to their vulnerability to being trafficked into the UK. However, there was no formal way to confirm if any of the children had made it into the UK and were safe, as neither the French nor the UK authorities had registered and reported the absent children as missing, or conducted any enquiries to locate them to ascertain their welfare.

      Between August 2016 and November 2017, 196 children who were in northern France without parents or carers were referred to the CTAC and the organisation managed to locate 68 of them by conducting checks on Home Office databases, confirming that they were either in local authority care or living with family members. The remaining 128 children remain unaccounted for, with the NSPCC stating that the ‘primary concern’ is the possibility of the children living in the UK without being known to services there. According to the report, “This would render them vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking with no wider network to safeguard and protect them.”

      The report illustrates the risks to which unaccompanied children are exposed by giving examples of children subjected to violence from police and from adults in the camps, children who experienced sexual abuse and a child who was forced to take heroin and criminally exploited by adults in Calais.

      The NSPCC highlights the need for stronger cross-border cooperation, especially as the UK prepares to leave the EU, recommending that “a commitment must be made to ensure continued access to cross-border mechanisms for child safeguarding and protection, such as Europol and Eurojust.”

      While the ‘Jungle’ camp at Calais was dismantled in 2016, with former residents relocated to reception centres across France, the number of migrants making their way to the region has been rising in recent months. As the NSPCC report states, “The geographical appeal of Calais and Kent will not change, and dismantling the ‘Jungle’ has not ended the movement of people across the border. As children continue to cross into the UK, a formal referral system to share information must be developed between France and the UK that prioritises child safeguarding.”