In our newsletter we share information from the press about the Tavistock Review....sign up to receive more information about immigration issues and our work.
A highly critical official review into mental health issues in immigration removal centres has finally been published a year after it was delivered to the home secretary, Theresa May. The review by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations says the relationship between the Home Office and those advising detainees and campaigning on their behalf "has all but broken down in some instances". It says healthcare staff in immigration detention and removal centres report being overwhelmed and exhausted by the volume of cases and demands made on them.
The report, commissioned by the Home Office in January 2013, says "mutual antagonism and suspicion" characterises relationships between immigration officials, campaigning bodies, official watchdogs and voluntary organisations working in the field. Vulnerable detainees may deteriorate in a detention situation where caseworkers, subcontractors, solicitors and other agencies are often in disagreement with one another and thus feeding the detainees' sense of powerlessness, helplessness and fear of the future." Alan Travis in The Guardian, 09/02/2015
The following week, Theresa May asked Stephen Shaw CBE, the former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales, and a widely respected expert in this field, to lead an independent review into the Home Office policies and operating procedures that have an impact on immigration detainee welfare.
Patrick Wintour writes writes ‘…The system for detaining immigrants and asylum seekers awaiting decisions or deportation has been described as the harshest and most inhumane branch of the UK judicial administration.’ The Guardian, 08/02/2015
Link to Tavistock Report:
Excellent news for asylum seekers relying on Azure cards for their weekly payment. No longer will they have to forfeit an unspent balance.
Lord Bates: Practical arrangements to remove the restriction that prevents Azure card users from carrying over more than £5 credit on the card from one week to the next are imminent. Card users with children are already allowed to carry over unlimited credit. We expect to complete the work by the end of February. Card users will be notified of the change by letter and there will be appropriate changes to our website information about the card. House of Lords, 26/01/15
British Values Test - Ridiculous or Reasonable?
Theresa May is to Introduce "British Values" Test For Overseas Visitors. According to the Financial Times, the document that outlines these plans states: "We want to make clear to those seeking to visit, work or study in the UK, and those granted protection, that they need to abide by and respect British values throughout their stay in this country . . . We will make British values an integral part of applying for a visa."
But how exactly the Home Office plans to make overseas visitors display their respect for this abstract principle of "British values" is unclear. Will visitors form orderly queues at visa centres, while they wait in turn to recite God Save the Queen? Or will they be given a Q+A format card, styled on the United States' homeland security questions - replacing "are you a member of a terrorist organisation?" with "on a scale of one to ten (one being 'utterly detest' and ten being 'crazy in love'), how would you rate Queen Elizabeth II?" I can imagine terrorists quivering at such a prospect.
Read more: Ashley Cowburn, New Statesman, 20/02/2015
All the evidence hearings have now taken place and transcripts will be made available. For more information, come along to our AGM on 17th March and pick up your copy of our Annual Report
Link to transcript of first oral hearing here: http://detentioninquiry.com/2014/07/29/transcript-of-first-oral-evidence-session/
We are delighted to tell you that we raised over £14,000 during the appeal. Many, many thanks to all of you who helped raise this money. Every penny will be put to good use very soon.
For all you shoppers who don’t want to go out in the winter cold. Don’t forget you can raise money for Friends without Borders at the same time. It’s easy, just go to: www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/haslarvg. You can shop with Amazon, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and many more.