This week has been Refugee Week. Each day I have posted a simple account of the work undertaken by BHT’s Immigration Legal Service. Some have involved clients who have been tortured and persecuted. Today’s story is a less dramatic account of a family being reunited. It is not an account that might make the media, but it shows the range of the work this service undertakes, and the importance of a successful outcome for our clients. I am grateful to all staff in the Immigration Legal Service for their dedicated work, week in, week out, and for providing me with the real life stories that I have posted this week.
A Family Reunion
P and her family are recognised refugees in the UK. P instructed Brighton Housing Trust to assist her in making an application for her mother who had a serious eye condition to join the family in the UK. The application was refused by the entry clearance officer.
BHT represented her on appeal. There was limited medical evidence from her country of origin, however, BHT was able to obtain a statement from a UK-based eye specialist and succeeded in demonstrating the extent of the macular degeneration and consequences of the illness, which tipped the balance in the client’s favour.
P’s mother is now safely in the UK and being cared for by her family.
N is an Iranian national and arrived in the UK when he was 16 years old. His family in Iran had a history of opposition to the Iranian regime. His father and uncle were executed when he was a child and his elder brother had also been detained. Prior to leaving Iran, Mr N attended a number of demonstrations against the regime. He was beaten severely by the authorities during the demonstrations and was eventually arrested by Iranian State Security. He was beaten and kept in solitary confinement for 3 months with little food and water and no access to daylight. He was forced to sign a confession and was then transferred to prison where he spent 20 days before being released. Eventually he fled the country with the help of an uncle.
He claimed asylum in the UK but his case was refused by the Home Office. They did not accept that he was telling the truth about what had happened to him.
Brighton Housing Trust lodged an appeal to the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal and obtained evidence including a report documenting the torture he had suffered in support of his appeal. The judge accepted the evidence and found that Mr N would be at risk of detention and further ill treatment amounting to persecution if he was sent back to Iran.
Mr N’s appeal was allowed and he was found to be a refugee meaning that he will be permitted to remain in the UK and is no longer at risk of suffering further torture and ill treatment.
S is a 16 year old Syrian Kurd. He had attended anti-government demonstrations in Syria and subsequently his family were targeted by the authorities leading to the disappearance of his mother, father and brother. He was able to flee to a relative’s house who immediately arranged his escape from Syria. Having made his way to the UK he claimed asylum.
The Home Office refused to accept that Syrian Kurds had played any significant part in the continuing turmoil in Syria and rejected his claim for asylum.
Detailed evidence was uncovered confirming the role that Kurds have played in the uprising in Syria and Brighton Housing Trust represented S at his appeal hearing. S was successful and the decision of the Home Office overturned resulting in a grant of Refugee Status to him and therefore the protection he requires in order to avoid him suffering the same fate as his family members.
Mr and Mrs A, and their two adult children are Coptic Christians from Sudan. They ran a successful business in Khartoum and through their church did charitable work with the Nuba refugees who live in desperate conditions in camps outside Khartoum. They were accused of trying to convert the Nuba to Christianity by the Sudanese authorities.
Mr A was repeatedly taken into detention where he was beaten and abused, Mrs A and her son B were arrested and detained on false charges, and B was arrested again on false charges and received an instant punishment of 30 lashes on his back. Eventually the family could take no more and applied successfully for visitor’s visas to come to the UK where they have family, with the intention of applying for asylum on arrival.
They all applied at the airport as soon as they arrived, and were later interviewed. Each family member was refused, on the basis that Mr A was alleged to have contradicted the times and dates on which his arrests took place and so their cases we deemed unbelievable.
Brighton Housing Trust assisted the family members with their appeal. BHT worked tirelessly to obtain evidence of injuries the son had sustained, and went through each of their histories meticulously so that the Immigration Judge was presented with an accurate and thorough version of their histories. Their appeals were allowed and they will now be granted refugee status and are safe from the prospect of being returned to Sudan where they would be at serious risk of ill treatment.
O was an 18-year-old Somali national who last lived in a rural area of southern Somalia. He claimed to be from a minority clan.
His father had been killed by militia and his family had been sporadically targeted too. After a life of living in constant fear O crossed the border to Kenya and after some time there managed to persuade a local businessmen to fund his journey to the UK where he hoped to claim asylum and begin a new life where he could live in safety.
Once in England, O made his claim for asylum but the Home Office refused to accept his clan membership and rejected his claim.
Brighton Housing Trust identified and instructed a Somali clan expert who was able to verify O’s membership of the minority clan he belonged to. After a long battle the appeal against the refusal of his claim was allowed.
Not only has O now been granted Refugee Status but with the assistance of the Red Cross he has also been reunited with his two sisters.
O has now started to rebuild his life in the safety of the UK.
The South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (SESPM) is working with the charity STOP THE TRAFFIK to deliver four regional training seminars in March 2012 covering:
- Hampshire and Isle of Wight
- Kent and Medway
- Surrey and Sussex
- Thames Valley
This training is free.
Men, women, and children are being tricked and forced into exploitation in the South East. They are trafficked from one community into another. Local professionals and residents need to know:
- What human trafficking is
- How it affects them and their communities
- What it looks like and who to tell
- How they can work with their communities to tackle it
Each training seminar will address:
- Human trafficking: the definition and distinctions, scale and stories, types and signs, and the regional situation
- Tackling trafficking: international obligations and national responses, prosecution, protection, and prevention, national and local referrals
- Community action: existing regional initiatives, examples from activists, and developing local action plans
The government has identified key audiences that need to receive this kind of training. If you are one of the following:
- Local authority or social worker
- Community police officer
- Health practitioner
- Education provider
- Housing provider
- Probation officer
- Immigration officer
- Migrant organisation
- Community group
- Homelessness charity
Email email@example.com to register for one of the four regional training seminars in March 2012. For more information click here.