News Update – 13 January ’16

Our weekly news update on refugee issues around the world by Isobel Fraser.

  • Campaigners prepare to launch a legal challenge against the Home Office on the grounds that the Government has been failing to fulfil its obligations towards refugees with close family members in the UK. Advocates accuse the Government of ignoring a clause in the EU’s Dublin Regulation which dictates that refugees who have close family members living in a particular country have the right to claim asylum there. Masud, a young Afghan asylum seeker who recently died trying to reach the UK, will be among those listed in the case.
  • The International Development Committee (IDC) has called on the Government to resettle 3,000 child refugees in the UK on top of the 20,000 refugees the government has pledged to take. A report published by the committee backed previous calls by Save the Children to increase the number of unaccompanied young refuges to be welcomed into the UK; and warned of the risk that young refugees may be “falling prey to people traffickers”. The government has said the proposals were under discussion.
  • Responding to calls from the Danish prime minister for rolling back the 1951 Refugee Convention, two senior UN officials have warned against dismantling the accords which they say represent “a milestone of humanity”. In an interview, the Danish prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, had commented that Denmark may need to “change the rules of the game”, in reference to the 1951 Convention, which has enshrined the right to seek asylum.
  • Living conditions worsened for asylum seekers living at a camp near Dunkirk, after 24 hours of rainfall left a huge pool of water in the middle of the camp and numerous tents ruined. Aid workers voiced concerns over the health of the camp’s inhabitants due to a recent by-law introduced which has banned the entry of tents and building materials into the camp, making it difficult to rebuild the shelters. French officials said pallets and tents would be allowed into the camp on Monday in order for improvements to be made.
  • Advocates have claimed raids carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against Central American immigrants in America, may have been carried out illegally. A Yale Legal Services Organization alongside 150 other groups, presented a letter to authorities claiming that many of the Central American’s targeted in the nationwide raids classify as disabled persons, in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Advocates wrote that many refugees targeted had “survived sexual assault or other forms of extreme violence”.