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.


New issues of:

Still Human, Still Here has published two new commentaries on the UK Border Agency Operational Guidance Notes: Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of Congo

‘The four initial asylum-related judgments by the Court of Justice of the European Union had only limited impact on the harmonisation of national asylum practices’ — The Luxembourg Court: Conductor for a Disharmonious Orchestra? Mapping the national impact of the four initial asylum-related judgments of the EU Court of Justice. Gábor Gyulai. Helsinki Hungarian Committee. 2012.    

‘[I]rregular border crossing remains a criminal offence in Tunisia (franchissement illégal de la frontière). This contravenes fundamental principles of human rights including the right to leave one’s country (Art. 12, ICCPR)’ — ‘UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants concludes first country visit in his regional study on the human rights of migrants at the borders of the European Union: Visit to Tunisia’. UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 8 June 2012. 

‘[S]tate officials systematically ill-treat refugees and migrants in Patras. Throughout the past 15 years hundreds of migrants and refugees (undocumented or not) have been living in Patras in improvised shelters seeking to stow away on ferries bound for Italy’ — ‘I came here for peace’: The systematic ill-treatment of migrants and refugees by state agents in Patras. PRO ASYL Foundation and Friends of PRO ASYL in co-operation with the Greek Council for Refugees. June 2012. 

‘This comprehensive treatise covers asylum law in the U.S. and includes detailed discussion of all the elements of the refugee definition: the meaning of well-founded fear, persecution, and the five grounds (race, religion, nationality, social group membership, and political opinion). It also discusses withholding of removal protection and protection under the Convention Against Torture’ — 2012 edition of Law Of Asylum In The United States. Deborah E. Anker. Thomson West. 2012. 

‘As the results of our survey show, many NGOs are unaware of the LGBTI refugees in their midst and many others are unaware of the need for targeted policies to help these vulnerable individuals’ — Opening doors: A global survey of NGO attitudes towards LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers. Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration. June 2012. 

‘In Ecuador, refugees face dire challenges in accessing protection despite the fact that many government officials and practitioners in the field have looked to this country as a model of refugee protection.  Ecuador is one of the smallest and poorest countries in South America, but hosts the largest refugee population on the continent’ — ‘Challenges to refugee protection in Ecuador: Reflections from World Refugee Day’. Adina Appelbaum. The Georgetown Public Policy Review. 26 June 2012. 

‘The upheavals in North Africa have lead to a short-term rise of refugees to Europe, yet, demonstrably, there has been no wave of refugees heading for Europe. By far most refugees have found shelter in neighbouring Arab countries. Nevertheless, in June 2011, the EU’s heads of state precipitately adopted EU Council Conclusions with far-reaching consequences, one that will result in new border policies ‘protecting’ the Union against migration’ — Borderline: The EU’s New Border Surveillance Initiatives. Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the ‘Smart Borders’ Proposals. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen. Heinrich Böll Foundation. June 2012. 

‘[I]t was observed that in many cases of unaccompanied minors families did exist, settled in other European countries as recognized refugees or immigrants, but with no knowledge of safe and regular ways for the children in question to join them. There were a number of minors both unaware and lacking in trust of the legal procedures available to unite with their families, choosing to pursue this path independent of official procedures available’ — Unaccompanied minors in the Greek-Turkish borders: Evros Region, March 2011–March 2012. Angeliki Theodoropoulou. Greek Refugee Council. 2012.

‘These interim Guidelines are issued in the context of an evolving security and human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire,1 following the inauguration of Alassane Ouattara as President on 6 May 2011, legislative elections in December 2011 and the announcement of a new government on 13 March 2012. 2 These Guidelines focus on the main profiles of persons who may, depending on the individual details of the case, be in need of international refugee protection due to the events following the November 2010 elections’ — Interim Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Côte d’Ivoire. UNHCR. 15 June 2012.

‘A regional co-operation framework is indeed needed to address the plight of the movement of peoples with all its complexities. It needs to address the protection needs of people fleeing life-threatening situation in its myriad forms. However, criminal activities like people smuggling or human trafficking should be distinguished from criminalising or punishing people seeking protection’ — The search: Protection Space in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines. Jesuit Refugee Services Asia Pacific. 2012. 

‘Given the current situation in Syria, persons who left Syria and have approached UNHCR and the respective host Governments have been registered as persons seeking international protection and are being assisted. Arrivals need to be afforded international protection and associated rights, the form of which may vary, depending on how the situation in Syria unfolds and on the processing and reception capacity of countries receiving them’ — International Protection Considerations with regard to people fleeing the Syrian Arab Republic. UNHCR. June 2012. 

‘The research findings underscore the need to strongly consider the need for social interventions such as legislative and policy change related to refugees, enforcement of labour standards and psycho-social protection for trafficked persons, to complement and supplement pharmacological and psychological interventions for this population’ — Forced labor, human trafficking and mental health: The experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia. Health Equity Initiatives. 2012.  

‘The world changed immeasurably over the course of 2011. Across the Middle East, North Africa, and far beyond, citizens stood up to demand respect for human dignity, more promising economic opportunities, greater political liberties, and a say in their own future. Often they faced tremendous odds and endured violent responses from their governments. The resulting upheavals are still unfolding today in places like Syria, where the regime has brutalized its own people’ — Secretary’s Preface, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011. US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. 2012. 

‘A further concern is that over 20,000 people who fled to Italy from Libya during the armed conflict were excluded from the scope of these temporary humanitarian residence permits, although the situation in Libya is far from settled. Since November 2011, over 11,500 people have signed an appeal calling for asylum seekers who have come from Libya to be granted residence permits for humanitarian reasons, which stresses that this contingent includes nationals of several countries (including Somalia, Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Bangladesh and Pakistan)’ — ‘Extension of humanitarian residence permits to put an end to “emergency”: Problems including “disappeared” Tunisians and rightless refugees from Libya persist’. Yasha Maccanico. Statewatch. June 2012. 

‘The Asia Pacific Region is the site of some of the world’s most acute and protracted refugee situations. Of the 10.5 million refugees estimated by UNHCR in 2010, Asia hosted more than half of world’s refugees (54%). In addition, there are several more million asylum-seekers, stateless persons and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region’ — Annual Report 2011. Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. 2012. 

‘These Eligibility Guidelines replace the April 2009 UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Iraq and the 2010 Note on the Continued Applicability of the April 2009 UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Iraqi Asylum-Seekers. The purpose of these Eligibility Guidelines is to set out the profiles of asylum-seekers for whom international protection needs are likely to arise in the current context in Iraq’ — UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Iraq. UNHCR. 31 May 2012. 

‘These bans are only the latest steps in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s continuous discrimination against Afghan refugees residing inside Iran. Since 2006, the Iranian government has been pursuing a policy of ‘voluntary return’ by which Afghan refugees are relocated to their home country’ — Iran: An Afghan-free zone?!. Justice for Iran. June 2012. 

‘[S]uch heartlessness and illegality was Border Agency policy, enshrined in a long-standing ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ between Britain and France that provided for undocumented migrants landing on our shores — including trafficked children — to be bounced right back’ — ‘How many children secretly deported under UK Border Agency’s Gentleman’s Agreement?’. Clare Sambrook. openDemocracy. 7 June 2012. 

‘Most recently, allegations have emerged of targeted violence directed at individuals returned to the DRC following failed bids for asylum. With reported abuses including illegal detention and torture, accounts of such human rights violations are representative of an endemic disregard for international norms and standards by the Congolese regime’ — ‘Freedom from fear: The treatment of refused Congolese asylum seekers’. Laura Clarke. Consultancy Africa Intelligence. 4 June 2012. 

‘[T]he statistics regarding travel from Africa to Europe show that the journey to the shores of Europe was not worth its cost, but that it also did not reach levels which would justify the anxieties of European politicians and their constituents. When the fact that 58,000 immigrants who arrived on the shores of Europe during 2011 is contrasted with the 30,000 or so asylum-seekers who seek refuge in Sweden each year, the fever which gripped Europe was disproportionate’ — ‘The migration balance sheet during the first year of the Arab Spring’. Fatma Yilmaz Elmas. Turkish Weekly. 3 June 2012. 

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