You are cordially invited to our 20th Birthday Celebration at 2pm September 12th All Saints Church Portsmouth PO1 4BT
2pm Lecture - 3pm Coordinators - 3:50pm Appeal - 4pm Tea and Birthday Cake!
Launch of our new name: Friends Without Borders
Learn about our new project: Access to Justice
Learn about our 2014 Appeal
RSVP Friends Without Borders – firstname.lastname@example.org – 023 9283 9222
This invitation is only being emailed and we don’t have emails for all our ex-visitors but do please invite all who are interested.
In a landmark ruling in a case brought by Detention Action, the High Court yesterday found that the way the government operates the Detained Fast Track asylum system is unlawful.
This is a huge piece of news and well done to Detention Action. You can read more from DA here:
And interestingly the Daily Mail ran a story about the ruling:
This week a Parliamentary inquiry into the use of Immigration Detention was launched, and will run until October. Chaired by Sarah Teather MP, the inquiry will examine the use of detention in the UK and focus on conditions in the centres, the impact on individual detainees and their families, the wider financial and social consequences, how detention is used in other countries, and the future role of detention within the immigration system. This is the first such parliamentary inquiry focusing on detention and it’s a really important opportunity for all visitors groups.
Making a submission:
Submissions are invited from a range of stakeholders including organisations working with detainees and former/current detainees themselves. This is a really good opportunity for visitors groups across the country to put forward views and evidence on detention where you visit. The Panel overseeing the Inquiry are understanding that small organisations may not have ‘comprehensive evidence’ in the form of statistics, hard data etc but would welcome our views on the basis of the expertise that we have. Visitors Groups are likely to be an important component of the Inquiry. The Detention Forum will be producing a pack to help with submissions.
The deadline for submission of evidence is 1st October. Do contact us to find out how you can contribute - there is likely to be a lot happening on this between now and October and we will keep you updated.
There will also be a series of hearings, the first of which is on the 17th July at which Detention Action will give evidence.
A practical way to celebrate our first 20 years!
Getting good legal advice has always been important to asylum seekers and immigrants but recently it has become much more difficult because of cut backs in the legal aid system. There is now only one solicitor in Portsmouth taking such cases, there is one in Southampton and one in Brighton. Meanwhile the Haslar Immigration Removal Centre is expanding from holding 160 to holding 200 men. Sixty per cent of our clients are represented by solicitors from out of our region who are therefore contractually limited in what they can do.
In response to this Friends Without Borders has started a new project – Access to Justice - and opened a new office at All Saints. Since we opened the project (very quietly) 5 months ago it has had 21 cases, 14 of which are still active. All the personnel are currently volunteers who between them have 20 years of experience in the field. We take on, and give advice about, a range of immigration cases, not just bail. It is our ambition to employ a paid part time programme manager to assist with this side of our work. They are all complex and difficult cases where we feel that common humanity is more important than the niceties of bureaucracy or the whims of politicians.
Our new project, of course, costs money for extra office rent and running and, if we can afford it, for a paid staff member. We’re looking for £15,000 by 31st December this year and already have generous donors who have offered top up by 50% any donations made before then*. So anybody giving £100 before the 31st December will see it increased to £150. If they gift aid it as well it will be worth £170 to Friends Without Borders. Remember this offer is only till 31st December!
We believe that good quality legal advice is essential for justice and particularly important for people who may not be very articulate or speak very good English and yet who may be at real and terrible risk if their claims fail. Please help us to help them. Please send cheques to me, Michael Woolley at: Friends Without Borders, All Saints Centre, Commercial Road, Portsmouth PO1 4BT. If you pay UK income tax please send the attached Gift Aid form with your donation. Or you can pay on-line (https://www.justgiving.com/FriendsWithoutBorders) and simply tick the gift aid box.
*To be precise they have offered £5000 to top up donations (up to a maximum of £10,000) by 50%.