Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter

The Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter is a monthly publication that focuses on the provision of refugee legal aid. It is aimed primarily to be a resource for legal aid providers in the Global South where law journals and other resources are hard to access. It complements the information portal
The newsletter follows recent developments in the interpretation of refugee law; case law precedents from different constituencies; reports and helpful resources for refugee legal aid providers; and stories of struggle and success in refugee legal aid work.

Country of Origin and legal aid news

BURUNDI: Five refugees, members of the Association for the Defense of Refugee Rights, still in prison, a year after being arrested
DRC: Two killed, thirteen injured, over 1,000 displaced in LRA attacks
ETHIOPIA: LGBTI individual speaks out against discrimination, remains anonymous for fear of retaliation
ERITREA: Activists call on government to end arbitrary detention and torture of citizens
GHANA: Out of 11,000, only 450 Liberian refugees express interest in repatriating
LIBERIA: Journalists threatened for reporting on Female Genital Mutilation
SOUTH AFRICA: African National Congress says government should take ‘robust steps’ to refuse asylum to those who have transited through at least one ‘safe’ country
SOUTH SUDAN: Refugees find little respite in Jamam camp
UGANDA: Thousands of Rwandan refugees in Uganda still reluctant to repatriate, government considers granting them citizenship; Attempted settlement of Congolese refugees delayed by land row; Human rights abuses in Uganda are rampant, Anti-Homosexuality bill being reintroduced
ZIMBABWE: Activists arrested and sentenced for watching Arab Spring video

USA: Syrian nationals will be allowed to apply for Temporary Protection Status for a period of 18 months; LGBTI Russians find asylum amid harsh laws and attacks back home; Government releases new rules making it easier for LGBTI individuals to be granted asylum
VENEZUELA: Freedom of expression continues to decline

AUSTRALIA: Asylum seekers arriving by boat to be processed in the same system as those arriving by plane; Refugee advocates call for immediate end of use of Christmas Island as a ‘punishment centre’; Former immigration department head dismisses says coalition’s ‘futile’ attempt to reopen Nauru detention centre; Government official claims offshore processing in Malaysia is still the best option; Full bench of Federal Court rules there is no time limit for asylum appeals; Parliamentary inquiry calls for 90-day limit to asylum detention
BURMA: Christian conference interrupted by army in Chin State; Approximately 75,000 Kachin displaced since June 2011 due to conflict and rights abuses
CHINA: Refugees in Hong Kong struggle to survive after UNHCR drastically cuts monthly allowance, and government assistance is not enough
INDONESIA: Escapees from detention centre recaptured, abuse that followed left one dead and three injured (including a minor)
MALAYSIA: DNA testing to help expedite registration of stateless children
THAILAND: Law clinics teach stateless youth about their rights
SOUTH KOREA: More support still needed for asylum seekers

BELGIUM: Government approves list of seven ‘safe’ countries of origin
CYPRUS: New law allows detention of minors; Trial of activist Doros Polycarpou, KISA co-founder, puts ‘Cyprus racism in the spotlight’
FRANCE: Court rules that detention of a family with young children violated articles of the ECHR, in a decision that may affect other European countries
GREECE: UNHCR applauds three new government services to ‘improve refugee protection’; Government also announces 30 new detention centres, to house 30,000 migrants
NETHERLANDS: Afghan refugee denied residence permit as could not afford the fees, decision unanimously considered a violation of Article 13 of the ECHR
MALTA: In 2011, Malta had the most asylum claims per capita in the EU
NORWAY: 450 children born and raised in Norway to be sent back to Ethiopia due to new immigration policy
SWEDEN: Pastor deported to DRC after being refused asylum was tortured upon arrival
UK: Many new court interpreters in the UK have ‘no understanding of legal terminology’; Number of Pakistani asylum seekers ‘increasing alarmingly’; UKBA plans on using dental x-rays to assess age of asylum seekers claiming to be minors

EGYPT: Over 2,000 refugees stuck in border camp between Egypt and Libya; Thousands of refugees in Cairo no longer receiving monthly allowance after UNHCR partner closes
JORDAN: Blogger stabbed after criticising royal family on her website
LEBANON: Government should register Syrian refugees
LIBYA: Clashes, killings and revenge attacks rampant under new government
IRAQ: ‘Emo’ youths targeted and killed by militias 
ISRAEL: Only eight cases were granted asylum, out of around 1,000 applications, in 2011; Bedouin resident charged with participation in kidnapping and torture of refugees in Sinai for extortion; Construction on world’s largest detention centre to begin soon
SYRIA: Refugees shot at as they try to escape into Lebanon
TURKEY: Human rights activists call for Syrian refugees to be granted official status
UAE: Syrians who took part in anti-Assad protests have their residency permits cancelled

More than 300,000 asylum claims filed in Europe in 2011
UNHCR estimates 39,000 Syrian refugees have fled to other countries
Council of Europe report finds that NATO ‘failed to help’ boat on which 63 migrants died
UN High Commissioner Antonio Guterres says Europe should welcome displaced people
Number of people seeking asylum in industrialised countries up 20 percent in 2011

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