BRITISH IMMIGRATION Detention Centres; sick, tortured immigrants locked up for months …

Revealed – sick, tortured immigrants locked up for months in Britain – investigation suggests hundreds of vulnerable people are detained indefinitely;  and 

Detainees in an immigration detention centre
The survey found almost half the detainees had not committed a crime but the average detainee had been imprisoned for four months. Photograph: The Guardian

|AIWA! NO!|An unprecedented snapshot of migrants held in British detention centres found more than half of the sample were either suicidal, seriously ill or victims of torture, a Guardian investigation has established.

The survey of almost 200 detainees held in seven deportation centres in England as of 31 August showed almost 56% were defined as an “adult at risk”. Such individuals are only supposed to be detained in extreme cases, suggesting that Home Office guidelines on detention have been breached.

The survey – conducted in association with 11 law firms and charities that work with those facing deportation – also found that a third had dependent children in the UK, and 84% had not been told when they would be deported – implying open-ended incarceration.

Almost half the detainees had not committed a crime, but the average detainee in the sample had been imprisoned for four months. The majority had lived in the UK for five years or more and some had been in the country for more than 20 years.

The sample amounts to 8% of all those held in detention at the time of survey, according to the most recent Home Office figures. A Home Office spokesperson insisted detention was “an important part of the immigration system”, but said that it must be “fair, dignified and protect the most vulnerable”, adding that further improvements could still be made to the system.

While it is not sufficiently scientific to be extrapolated across the entire removal population, the survey suggests many hundreds of extremely vulnerable people are being held indefinitely, in one of the most severe manifestations of the Conservatives’ “hostile environment” policy.

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Roland Adjovi a member of the UN Office of the Human Rights Commissioner’s arbitrary detention working group, said that states must ensure that detention ‘is truly a measure of last resort’

“Detention in the context of migration must be a measure of last resort,” he said. “Such detention can never be of unlimited duration and the national legislation must clearly prescribe the maximum permitted duration of detention.”

The former prisons and probation ombudsman Stephen Shaw, who has conducted two comprehensive reviews for the government into immigration detention, added: “Although the overall use of detention has fallen by one third in the last three years, far too many people are still being detained for long periods when there is no realistic prospect of their removal from the UK.”

The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said: “This snapshot is truly shocking, but not entirely surprising.

“There have been repeated assurances that vulnerable people, victims of trafficking and children would not been detained. But this investigation shows that those assurances are worthless. People are even being detained even though there is no instruction for their removal. This is a scandalously inhumane and unjustifiable system.”

The government detains just over 25,000 people every year pending deportation, at an annual cost of £108m. The practice of indefinite incarceration has been criticised by high court judges, local authorities, parliamentary committees and the UN.

More than half of all detainees are in any case ultimately released back into British society, not deported. Some have taken legal action over their imprisonment. The Home Office’s latest annual report acknowledges that government has paid out £3m to 118 people unlawfully detained in the 2017/18 financial year.

The UK is the only country in Europe to detain people without a time limit. It was Guardian revelations about government’s removal targets which forced Amber Rudd to resign as home secretary in April. Detention centres are instrumental to that policy.

In July, the new home secretary, Sajid Javid, promised to make changes to immigration detention. But the Guardian investigation revealed very little had changed and many vulnerable people were still being detained.

Eleven law firms and charities entered anonymised data on 188 people to build a snapshot of people in deportation centres on 31 August. The data included how long they were held, whether they were considered an adult at risk and whether they had been told when they would be deported.

The survey found:

  • Children were held in adult detention centres, while 30% of detainees had dependent children in the UK.
  • More than half were defined as an adult at risk due to being victims of torture, having suicidal thoughts or being unwell.
  • While the government claims detainees are held briefly before being deported, 84% had not been given removal directions.
  • Detention ranged from under five days to nearly three years, with a median of four months, despite Home Office guidance that it should be used sparingly and for the shortest period necessary.
  • Detainees came from 56 countries, most commonly Nigeria and Algeria.

An adult at risk should be given special protection because they are particularly vulnerable. They should not usually be imprisoned, though they can be if the Home Office believes they pose a risk to the public or have a history of non-compliance with immigration law.

Of those represented in the Guardian survey, 27% had been tortured, 24% had serious health conditions and 4% were at risk of suicide.

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/charts/embed/oct/2018-10-08T13:48:54/embed.html

The survey found just over half of detainees had served a prison sentence.

Alieu, a refugee from Gambia who was tortured in his home country, says that seven years after being detained in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, near Heathrow, he is still suffering trauma.

“I kept asking the Home Office: ‘Am I a criminal, am I a prisoner?’ I was locked up in a very small space and was too scared to sleep. I’m still scared of people in uniform. The trauma from being locked up in detention after I’d already experienced torture will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

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The investigation also uncovered multiple cases of children being held in the adult estate, despite this being banned in all but exceptional circumstances. Almost a third of adult detainees had dependent children in the UK, prompting concerns their removal would lead to families being separated.

Bail for Immigration Detainees, a charity that assists with detainees’ bail applications, condemned such separations, saying it causes children extreme distress.

“Many of our clients’ children have lost weight, suffered from recurring nightmares and experienced insomnia during their parents’ enforced absence,” said Celia Clarke, director of BID.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, deplored the fact that the vast majority of detainees face open-ended imprisonment, adding: “That lack of an end date is causing serious harm, not only to those detained but also to their loved ones.”

Migration Watch, which monitors migration into the UK and has called for the detention estate to be expanded, said: “If people are here legally and they are being detained that’s a serious flaw in the system. It goes without saying that people who are here legally should not be detained.”

James Price, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance expressed concern about the cost of detention: “Detention should only be used when there is a high chance of returning the individual in a short space of time, because a bureaucratic and lengthy wait is bad for the welfare of those detained, as well as costing taxpayers and meaning less money for essential services.”

The Home Office spokesman said: “We have made significant improvements to our approach in recent years, but it is clear we can go further.

“The home secretary has made clear that he is committed to going further and faster to explore alternatives to detention, increase transparency around immigration detention, further improve the support available for vulnerable detainees and initiate a new drive on detainee dignity.”

The methodology

The Guardian sent a series of questions to 15 organisations who work with detainees – law firms with Home Office contracts to represent detainees and specialist NGOs. We received responses from 11.

Our partner organisations provided anonymised data about a series of key metrics, including age, length of residence and family ties in the UK, length of detention and specific vulnerabilities.

We asked them to enter data about their entire client list on a single day, 31 August, but some did not have the resources to capture every detainee on their books.

After excluding a handful of potential double counts where an NGO and a law firm may have been working with the same detainee, we were left with 188 unique responses.

We then calculated the proportion of the group with certain characteristics, such as suicidal tendencies, dependent children and long-term residency.

The data should be treated as a snapshot and not as a sample representative of the whole population in immigration detention. Many detainees never have contact with any legal representative or NGO, and will not have been captured in our sample.

 In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or emailjo@samaritans.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

©The Guardian

NIKKI HALEY Was a Pro – Israeli Community Delight; And This Is Why

A big chunk of Haley’s two years as US Ambassador to the United Nations  was about Israel and Palestine and keeping Israelis happy.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addresses AIPAC, March 2018
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addresses AIPAC, March 2018. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO

WASHINGTON — |JTA/RON KAMPEAS|AIWA!NO!|When Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that she would be stepping down as UN ambassador by the end of this year, the Israeli and pro-Israel laments poured out swiftly.

Haley didn’t simply defend Israel and its government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as her predecessors had under Democratic and Republican administrations. She led a game change: On her watch, and with the blessing of President Donald Trump, support for Israel became a “with or against us” proposition. Slam the United States for defending Israel, and count on being slammed back, was the Trump-Haley credo.

A big chunk of Haley’s two years at the world body was about Israel.

“Thank you for your support, which led to a change in Israel’s status in the UN,” Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his gratitude as well in a statement.

“I would like to thank Ambassador @nikkihaley, who led the uncompromising struggle against hypocrisy at the UN, and on behalf of the truth and justice of our country,” he said.

Haley’s predecessors had also robustly backed Israel in the body, but there were hiccups. The latest came in December 2016 when Ambassador Samantha Power allowed through a Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s settlement policy in the waning days of the Obama administration, about a month before Trump was inaugurated.

It was a rare instance of a US official semi-endorsing UN criticism of Israel.

Netanyahu and the centrist to right-wing pro-Israel community sees the United Nations as a snake pit, and any concession is seen as a betrayal. That was the message in the American Israel Public Affair Committee’s farewell to Haley packed into a single word: “consistently.”

“We appreciate the strong leadership of @nikkihaley @USUN,” AIPAC said on Twitter. “Thank you for consistently standing up for America’s interests and our democratic ally Israel.”

Here are five times Haley changed the game for Israel while she was ambassador to the United Nations.

1. Cutting funds to UNRWA

Israel and pro-Israel officials have long criticized UNRWA, the UN agency that administers assistance to Palestinians and their descendants, for what they say is a too-broad definition of what denotes a Palestinian refugee, effectively allowing the status to continue indefinitely.

Haley helped spearhead the Trump administration decision last month to sever funding to the agency. Last year, the United States contributed $360 million, the lion’s share of the budget. This year, after forking over $60 million, there was a freeze, and it became permanent last month.

Speaking in August at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Haley said the money could flow again — if UNRWA radically reconfigured how it counts refugees, slashing the number from 5 million to 500,000.

“We will be a donor if it reforms what it does,” she said of UNRWA, “if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account, we will look back at partnering them.”

(Liberal pro-Israel groups decried the fund cuts, saying they were cruel, and noted that Israeli security officials have long argued that UNRWA assistance helps stabilize the region.)

2. That wild UN party 

Haley used the US veto to nix a UN Security Council resolution last year criticizing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but its backers took the measure to the General Assembly to at least score a moral victory. (Security Council resolutions have the force of international law; General Assembly resolutions amount to little more than statements.)

Haley went to work and managed to get an impressive 64 members to not vote or vote against the resolution in the General Assembly. Then she invited them to a party.

“It’s easy for friends to be with you in the good times, but it’s the friends who are with you during the challenging times that will never be forgotten,” the US mission said on Facebook in January. “Thank you to the 64.”

3. Quitting the Human Rights Council

The United States Human Rights Council makes Israel a perennial agenda item, even as it includes among its members some of the world’s worst human rights abusers like Iran, China and Venezuela. The Obama administration repeatedly noted the anomaly, but it stuck with the council in order to nudge its members to condemn abuses in other countries.

Haley and the Trump administration stayed for 18 months before eventually concluding it wasn’t worth the insults. The body “was not worthy of its name,” Haley said at a joint appearance with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in June.

4. Scrub the apartheid report

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia published a report in March 2017 accusing Israel of apartheid. Haley, fresh to her role, made it a point to lobby the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, to pull the report from the web. Guterres, no doubt wary of getting off to a wrong start with the Trump administration, pulled rank on the agency and the report was soon gone.

“That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising,” Haley said before the scrubbing.

5. Praying at the Western Wall

Two months after the apartheid incident, Haley told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the Western Wall belonged to Israel, a sharp departure from longstanding executive branch policy of not pronouncing on who claims what in Jerusalem. By the end of the year, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It was an early instance of Haley’s role as a smoke signal for a significant Trump administration shift in US policy. She was tapped a year ago to signal that the Trump administration would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and, as noted above, she set the stage for cutting off UNRWA funding.

Recognizing the Western Wall as Israeli seemed personal, however. Visiting Jerusalem a month after her CBN interview, she broke away from security to touch the holy site and ask worshipers how to pray.

Trump says Ivanka would be ‘dynamite’ as UN ambassador, but cites ‘nepotism’

Ivanka out, Dina ‘maybe’: Trump undecided on Haley replacement as speculation runs wild

|AP|AIWA! NO!|US President Donald Trump has said his daughter Ivanka would be an “incredible” replacement for departing UN ambassador Nikki Haley.

Mr Trump said he had heard his daughter’s name discussed for the post but said he knows he would be accused of nepotism if he selected her.

The president said former aide Dina Powell is under consideration to replace Ms Haley, who announced earlier in the day that she would be stepping down from the role at the end of the year.

View image on Twitter

Ivanka Trump

@IvankaTrump

Ambassador Haley has served America with dignity + distinction.
She is a bold reformer and has been an unwavering champion of truth, principled realism and integrity within the United Nations.
Jared and I are grateful for her friendship — a true blessing in our lives! 🇺🇸

Ms Powell served as deputy national security adviser to Mr Trump for most of his first year in the White House and departed in mid-January.

She previously worked for Goldman Sachs and served in President George W Bush’s administration.

The timing of Ms Haley’s resignation announcement was surprising, coming just weeks ahead of the midterm elections.– Press Association

 

Abbas delivers fiery anti-Israel speech at the UN

PALESTINIAN President calls for international probe of ‘settlers and soldiers’, says Trump and US are not honest mediators.Abbas

AIWA! NO!//Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave a fiery anti-Israel speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday evening.

Abbas called on the United States to rescind its decision to transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing it as Israel’s capital. Abbas also strongly criticized President Trump and said that no one knows what Israel’s real borders are.

“Can someone tell me the borders of Israel? Bring me a map and show me where the border is,” Abbas said.

“Our Jerusalem, it has no price, and it is not for sale, the rights of the Palestinian people are not subject to any discussion,” declared Abbas.

Abbas alleged that Israel was harming Palestinian attempts to operate independently. “Last year I read in my speech for justice and peace to the oppressed Palestinian people suffering from the Israeli occupation, and I returned here today, when the occupation strangles us and undermines our efforts to build our own state.”

The PA chairman demanded that Israel recognize an independent Palestinian state and also called on the International Court of Justice in The Hague to “investigate the aggression of the soldiers and settlers against the Palestinian land”.

Abbas also said that “We congratulated Trump’s peace initiative and waited for him to present it, but his actions shocked us and grossly contradicted the role of the United States in promoting the peace process. Trump is not a fair mediator.”

He added, “Our capital will not be in East Jerusalem, but East Jerusalem is our capital even though it was occupied in 1967.”

“We never refused to negotiate or to take part in the peace process,” he said.

Abbas slammed the Nationality Law as well. “In July, Israel approved a racist law that violated all international laws. This law can only lead to the creation of a single state that will be a racist apartheid state.”

US President Trump Turned Up at the UN General Assembly; Scorned Iran President Hassan Rouhani, Praised Kim – Was Derided by Audience of World Leaders

President Trump, before his address at the U.N. on Tuesday.
President Trump, before his address at the U.N. on Tuesday. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
AIWA! NO!President Trump’s UN General Assembly speech was greeted with derision and disbelief by world leaders. Nobody walked out though, even ‘the prodigal son Islamic State of Iran’s Hassan Rouhani; instead they all stayed put so they can find something to laugh at and about at least, I think – talk about at coffee break; and they did on all counts.

CRIMSON TAZVINZWA//If Mr. Trump has changed, so has his audience, which included Kim Jong-un via ‘remote’ of course  — they seem no longer encumbered by the insurgent political novice who left them ‘mouth-gaped’ and mortified last year when he vowed to “crush loser terrorists,” mocked North Korea’s leader as “Rocket Man” and declared that parts of the world “are going to hell” and that some African countries are “shit holes”.

READ RELATED: South Korea’s Moon Becomes Kim Jong Un’s Top Spokesman at UN

 

“Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction”

This time around however, world leaders and global representatives thereof listened quietly, while their constituents back home either watched the whole shebang on TV or online as Mr. Trump doubled down on his stinging rhetoric against enemy Iran and failed Venezuela. Apparently there was a portion of time when Trumps’s speech was agreeable with the leaders; they nodded in agreement as he particularly singled out an enemy-turned-partner, Kim Jong-un of North Korea, expressing optimism for a diplomatic opening that would have seemed far-fetched even by my own grand fallacious imagination.

READ RELATED: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rules out meeting with President Donald Trump

READ RELATED: U.S. SANCTIONS ‘WILL CRIPPLE THE ECONOMY’ OF IRAN, SAY ECONOMISTS

However the “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” line drove the listeners into murmurs and laughter – mockery.

Apparently as much as Trump’s lies have become both intrinsic and pathological – hinged onto ‘psychosis’; part of political satire within his administration and America; seeping through the ‘truth  de-sensitized’ corridors of The White House and the GOP  – for world leaders it seemed – it was a treat; experiencing it at close range within the confines of UN’s New York auditorium.

They laughed!

KOFI ANNAN DEATH: Earth loses a statesman, heaven gains

CHARLES KUMOLU//Yesterday’s demise of a former Secretary General of United Nations, UN, Mr. Kofi Annan, was literally   a global loss.

Image result for Kofi Annan
Ex-UN secretary-general Kofi Annan dies: World mourns ‘great leader’

Better still, it was a rare interpretation of the Singing Cookes’ Earth’s Loss, Heaven’s Gain. Kofi Annan.  The song which has gone from being just a gospel melody to a funeral tribute, finds real meaning in the diplomat’s demise.

Annan was not the first person nor the only African to have headed the global body, but his ability to lead and inspire endeared him to the world. His 10-year leadership of the UN in the post-cold war era, saw him championing human rights like never before. His personality, style, and strength combined to reinvigorate the agency.

The UN, which Annan led from 1996-2007, was not without failings but his reign was successful in many areas. Little wonder the failure to act sufficiently during the Rwandan genocide and Bosnian crisis, were just the low moments that featured in most commentaries about his time as head of the UN. This explains the quality of the tributes pouring in for the late global statesman, whose works at the UN earned him the status of an international superstar. Some of the eulogies are even coming from quarters, that hardly espouse those things that endeared Annan to people. However, beyond these chanting of dirges, his legacies are timeless lessons for leaders, especially African rulers.

As they eulogise one of the continent’s best exports after the late Nelson Mandela, it is expected that they ponder on his legacies and ask: What are we going to be remembered for? It becomes necessary as Annan’s good deeds would never be interred with his bones in line with Marc Anthony’s assertion in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. He   joined the UN in 1962, working for the World Health Organisation’s Geneva office. Annan went on to work in many capacities at the UN   including serving as the Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping between March 1992 and December 1996. He was appointed as the Secretary-General on 13 December 1996 by the Security Council, and later confirmed by the General Assembly, making him the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself.

Annan was re-elected for a second term in 2001, and was succeeded as Secretary-General by Ban Ki-moon on 1 January 2007. As the Secretary-General, Annan reformed the UN bureaucracy; worked to combat HIV, especially in Africa; and launched the UN Global Compact. Annan, who never stopped working after he left the UN, was berated for not expanding the Security Council. There were also calls for resignation after an investigation into the Oil-for-Food Programme.

After leaving the UN, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to work on international development. Annan was made the UN–Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria in 2012. His duty was to help find a resolution to the Syrian conflict.

He is survived by a wife and children, all of whom were by him when he gave up the ghost.

Zimbabwe Detains Tendai Biti for ”inciting public violence;” Declaring “Unofficial Or Fake” Election Results,

Tendai Biti. (File: AFP)
Tendai Biti. (File: AFP)
Senior Zimbabwean opposition figure Tendai Biti was in police custody on Thursday after Zambia rejected his asylum bid and deported him, as fears grew about a government crackdown following Zimbabwe’s disputed election.

Biti was at Harare Central Police Station with his lawyers, said Roselyn Hanzi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said Biti faced charges of inciting public violence, which could bring up to a decade in prison, and declaring “unofficial or fake” election results, which has a maximum six-month sentence

Zambian border guards handed Biti to Zimbabwean authorities despite a Zambian court order saying he should not be deported until it could hear his appeal for asylum, Zambian lawyer Gilbert Phiri told The Associated Press.

“Zambian authorities acted in defiance of our courts, in defiance of regional and international law,” Phiri said. Zambia’s foreign minister said Biti’s reasons for seeking asylum “did not have merit.”

Biti’s plight has raised concerns about a wave of repression against the opposition by the government of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who narrowly won last week’s election. It comes as the opposition prepares to launch a legal challenge to last week’s voting results, calling them fraudulent.

“This is a worrying development,” said David Coltart, a friend of Biti’s who is a fellow member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and a human rights lawyer. “Tendai was arrested in 2008 on a similar charge and while he was in custody he was brutally tortured.”

The United Nations refugee agency said it was “gravely concerned” about the reports of Biti’s forced return to Zimbabwe, calling such returns a serious violation of international law. It urged Zambian authorities to urgently investigate.

A joint statement by the heads of missions in Zimbabwe of the European Union, the United States, Canada and Australia urgently called on Zimbabwean authorities to guarantee Biti’s safety and respect his rights. It also said the diplomats were “deeply disturbed” by the reports of Zimbabwean security forces targeting the opposition.

Biti, a former finance minister and newly elected member of parliament for the MDC, a day after the July 30 vote urged opposition supporters to defend their votes in the disputed ballot, saying that MDC candidate Nelson Chamisa had won the presidential race.

Authorities say it is against the law to declare the winner of an election before the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announces the official results.

The day after Biti’s remarks, the military opened fire to disperse opposition protesters in the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital, killing six people. Western election observers, whose endorsement of a credible election is badly needed for the lifting of international sanctions on Zimbabwe, quickly condemned the “excessive” force.

While Mnangagwa has hailed a “flowering” of democracy in Zimbabwe since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure, alarm has been growing inside and outside the country.

The British embassy in Zimbabwe said on Thursday it had spoken with Zimbabwean and Zambian authorities overnight to seek “clear assurances” that Biti’s safety would be guaranteed. The United States’ top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, urged Zambian authorities to allow Biti to stay or allow him safe passage to a third country.

READ RELATED: Zambia hands over Tendai Biti to Zimbabwean police, defying court order: lawyer

READ RELATED: Zimbabwean opposition official Tendai Biti denied asylum, being deported

READ RELATED: Zimbabwe opposition official freed, lawyer says

The state-run Herald newspaper in an “editorial comment” said Biti “sneaked into Zambia in a bid to evade the law.”

It also urged Zambian authorities to respect Interpol and not the UN convention on refugees, which rejects the returning of asylum-seekers to the countries they have fled.

Under Mugabe’s 37 years in power, Zimbabwe was dogged by charges of rigged and fraudulent elections, along with violence against opposition figures.

Biti, one of the most outspoken critics of the government, was quick to warn that while the ouster of Mugabe was welcome, the military takeover that led to his resignation set a dangerous precedent for its involvement in civilian affairs.

“The genie is out of the bottle,” Biti said in June.