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LD4SOS NEWSLETTER MARCH 2022
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FEDERAL CONFERENCE FRINGE:
What Safe Routes? What's happening with the Nationality and Borders Bill?
Sunday 13th March, 5.40p.m.- 6.45p.m.
An informed discussion with Zoe Gardner, Policy and Advocacy Manager from the Joint Council for the Welfare of immigrants (JCWI), Baroness Sally Hamwee, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Immigration, and Dr Ruvi Ziegler (Associate Professor in International Refugee Law, University of Reading).
There will of course be plenty of time for you to put your questions to our panel.
EU ACTIVATES ITS TEMPORARY PROTECTION DIRECTIVE TO ADDRESS DISPLACEMENT UKRAINE
- On 4thMarch, EU home office/interior ministers unanimously agreed to activate the EU Temporary Protection Directive (2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001) for the first time since its adoption over 20 years ago, in the aftermath of the mass displacement from the Balkans.
- The EU Council (ie MS home affairs ministers), acting by a qualified majority voted on a proposalfrom the Commission, agreed that there is a mass influx of displaced persons, defined as the arrival in the EU of a large number of displaced persons, who come from a specific country or geographical area, whether their arrival in the EU. was spontaneous or aided. The Directive sets "minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between the Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof."
- Critically, the Directive applies not just to Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine who are displaced as of 24/2/2022 following the military invasion by Russian armed forces, but also to Third-country nationals (TCNs) or stateless persons legally residing in Ukraine who are unable to return to their country or region of origin in safe and durable conditions because of the situation prevailing in that country. This could include persons enjoying refugee status or equivalent protection, or who were asylum seekers in Ukraine at the time of the events leading to the mass influx. Hence, an asylum-seeker from Afghanistan who has resided in Ukraine prior to the Russian invasion will also be covered - a stark difference from the treatment of such asylum-seekers at the Polish-Belarus border a mere few months ago.
- Family members of Ukrainians, TCNs, and stateless persons meeting the above definition are also covered.
- The Directive establishes a common set of rights across all EU member states (Analysis: https://odysseus-network.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2001-55-Temporary-Protection-Synthesis.pdf).
- For applicants, temporary protection 'shall not prejudge' refugee recognition under the Refugee Convention, so it will be possible to apply for asylum at any time, although member states may delay consideration of an application for Convention refugee status until the temporary protection has ended. Any asylum application not processed by the end of the temporary protection period has to be processed afterwards.
- Member States may excludea person from the benefit of temporary protection on grounds identical to the 1951 Refugee Convention.
THE HOUSE OF LORDS VOTED THROUGH TWO SIGNIFICANT AMENDMENTS TO THE INHUMANE NATIONALITY AND BORDERS BILL LAST WEEK.
On 28th February peers voted to remove clause 11, which seeks to treat refugees differently based on how they arrive here, rather than their need for protection.
The Party's Home Affairs Spokesperson in the Lords, Brian Paddick, co-sponsored an amendment to remove Clause 11 from the Bill.
The clause would have put refugees into "Group 2" if they come to the UK through other countries, giving them only a temporary right to stay in the UK and restricting their ability to sponsor close family members to join them.
The amendment, which had cross-party support, was voted through in the House of Lords by 204 votes to 126. Speaking after the vote, Lord Paddick said: "Priti Patel's Anti-Refugee Bill would criminalise people simply for seeking asylum in the UK. That would include the Ukrainian families who are fleeing Putin's war at this very moment.
"The horrifying images from Ukraine must surely force Ministers to think again. I am glad we have defeated the Government over its plans to create a second class of refugees, in violation of the UN Refugee Convention, but the Home Secretary should now withdraw the Bill altogether. The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those fleeing war and persecution. Liberal Democrats will resist every attempt by the Conservative Government to undermine that proud British tradition."
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael MP said: "Priti Patel's anti-refugee bill has been dealt another major blow, with measures to make it illegal for people to come to the UK in search of refuge being defeated. "This cruel bill is deeply flawed, particularly given the growing humanitarian crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. We should be offering sanctuary to those in need, not criminalising them for seeking safety.
"Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose these draconian measures and push the Government to offer quick and legal routes for Ukrainian's fleeing Putin's war machine."
Then on 2nd March, peers supported a conservative-led amendment, which would commit the government to resettling 10,000 refugees a year.
Please try to make sure MPs support these two amendments, as the Bill reaches its final stages in parliament. You can:
Share the change.org petition to the PM
You could share the change.org petition launched by Together With Refugees' member, Freedom From Torture. It's calling on the government to provide humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine and asks for urgent concessions on the bill, by supporting our two amendments. It has over 160,000 signatures. Can we get it to 200,000?
Contact your MP
Please escalate pressure on your local MP to support the two amendments, especially now in the light of events in Ukraine.
Local landmark campaign, National Day of Action - 21 March 2022
Together with Refugees Coalition members all around the UK are planning their actions for a big reveal of orange hearts on landmarks on a National Day of Action, on 21 March. We want to send a clear message to Government that the bill does not represent #WhoWeAre, as a nation and as local communities. You can find more details about the local landmark action here.
On 2nd March, the House of Lords voted to scrap plans for offshore detention in the Anti-Refugee Bill, by 208 votes to 155. Baroness Stroud, a Conservative peer, said: "(Offshore detention is) ill-defined but far-reaching, expensive yet ineffective, exposing people to further trauma rather than offering protection."
Thanks to your support for Detention Action's campaign, the Anti-Refugee Bill will return to the House of Commons where MPs will have one more chance to reject plans for offshore detention camps. That gives just a few weeks to gain the support of enough MPs to scrap these cruel and costly plans for good.
Will you join more than 2,000 of Detention Action's supporters and sign our letter to PM Boris Johnson and Priti Patel, calling on them to abandon building offshore detention camps?
Sign the letter here
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE
City of Sanctuary have put together eight ways we can stand in solidarity with Ukraine and make a difference to those who have had to leave everything behind. From making a donation to lobbying your MP, we all have a part to play. Find out more here
LIFT THE BAN
0n 2nd March, during the report stage in the House of Lords, peers debated and passed Baroness Stroud's amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill that would give people seeking asylum the right to work after six months, unrestricted by the Shortage Occupation List. The cross-party amendment was supported by peers from across the house, with a split of 112 to 89 votes in favour, including 10 Conservative peers who rebelled against the Government.
While the vote in the Lords was highly significant, the Bill must of course return to the House of Commons before it becomes law.
Lift the Ban coalition members have also shared some highlights from the debate on their social media here and here, while Baroness Bennett shared her own speech in which she quoted Lift the Ban campaigner Mamoud: "It would make our lives meaningful and useful at the same time if we could work".
TAKE ACTION: The Lift the Ban coalition has just launched a Tweet Your MP action that asks MPs to give their support to #LiftTheBan. As part of this, there are two new animations available based on the many stories Lift the Ban ambassadors have shared over the years (you can download the animations here)
LD4SOS POST SPRING CONFERENCE 2021 NEWSLETTER 670.69 KiB drawing or desktop publishing document
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November 2019 Newsletter Election Special 442.47 KiB drawing or desktop publishing document
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- April 2019 Newsletter