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50.50 Highlights 2014

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People on the move - changing minds, changing placesPeople on the Move brings you research-based articles and migrant testimony seeking to shift the focus of public debate on migration away from borders, security and control, to developing migration policies that are fairer and more equitable.


I shall leave as my city turns to dust: Queens of Syria and women in war

In ‘Queens of Syria’, ancient Greek tales of loss and dislocation in conflict echo through to the contemporary realities of Syrian women, whose experiences of war and exile have often been ignored

We feel that we found our self after we lost it in the war

My home Syria is a beautiful place, but war took it from us. As refugees in Amman, rehearsing and performing Euripides’ The Trojan Women gave us a way to explain our new lives, and what we have lost. 

Women seeking asylum: closing the protection gap

Globally the British government is pushing for better protections for women, yet the same protections are unavailable to those seeking asylum. Asylum Aid is asking why a quarter of women’s claims are overturned on appeal.

You faked your life? Towards a culture of protection in UK asylum

To ensure those in need of international protection receive it, attention must be given to the impact of the societal, political and institutional context on decision-makers’ ability to assess an applicant’s credibility. 

Rest in power, Assia Djebar

Why is it that the homeland always rejects its most erudite children? Latefa Guemar pays tribute to the feminist writer remembered for her intellectual honesty and unflinching stance against Algerian patriarchy, even from beyond its borders.

Trapped: women fleeing violence in the UK

The raft of cuts affecting the women's sector, and election promises made by Labour and the Conservatives not to increase public spending, represent the biggest threat to domestic violence services and to women’s lives.

#SetHerFree: a spectrum of solidarity for refugee women

The campaign against detaining refugee women must be part of the movement against violence against women and girls. Agnes Woolley reports from the National Refugee Women’s Conference in London.

Immigration and Inequality: the courage of convictions

There is a powerful case – both emotional and empirical – to be made for migration, a case that can be made in the language of freedom and rights, showing how migration is a means of securing progress and social justice.

Detention knows no borders

The first ever parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention in the UK listened to the voices of 'experts-by-experience' and those still trapped in detention. How will the report in February 2015 reflect the shocking testimony that was heard ?

Like a chicken surrounded by dogs

Scotland may have a different relationship with immigration from the rest of the UK, but at least for now, Dungavel, which has been detaining men and women migrants since 2001, remains open. 

No end to the horrors of detention

The invisibility of immigration detention centres and the trauma of detention has meant that the heavy psychological baggage many migrants bring back with them into UK communities following their release has also gone unseen and unaddressed.

Life after detention

The adverse effects of being detained in an immigration removal centre harm possibilities for reintegration in the country of origin. 

The real cost of detaining migrants

Several years after being rushed out of Tinsley House immigration removal centre near London Gatwick airport, one man still lies hospitalised, unable to move, reliant on the staff to keep him alive. 

Destitution, intimidation . . . How Britain shirks its obligations to asylum-seekers

Filthy showers, uncleared rubbish, mice infestation. The quality of housing provided to asylum seekers by commercial contractors is poor indeed, but good enough for the Home Office.

Extraordinary things: visiting the women at Yarl’s Wood detention centre

Next door to a Formula 1 car testing zone, hundreds of migrant women are kept behind bars. Heather Jones is a long-term visitor. 

State racism and sexism in post-war Sri Lanka

Central to the resurgence of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism in post-war Sri Lanka is a redefinition of gender role and identities. Familial ideology is a key pillar of this discourse with serious adverse implications for women and gender equality

Not a minor offence: the unlawful detention of unaccompanied children

Despite pledging to end child detention for immigration purposes in 2010, the UK Government is still quietly locking up children. It’s getting away with it by calling them adults.

Mare Nostrum and migrant deaths: the humanitarian paradox at Europe’s frontiers

An industry has grown up around migratory routes in which care and control functions alternately clash and merge with each other. Understanding the humanitarian-policing nexus at play is key to moving beyond the current impasse.

Interrupting the implacable: fighting the Detained Fast Track

The UK Court of Appeal will hear an appeal this week over the lawfulness of automatically detaining asylum seekers while their appeals are heard. The era of expansion of this practice is already over and further change is likely. 

Immigration detention in the media: anarchy and ambivalence

Alongside calls for the reduction or ending of immigration detention, we must demand more balanced coverage from our media. Melanie Griffiths reports on two decades of ‘riots’ and fires inside Campsfield which is on track to become one of the biggest detention centres in Europe.

Migrant vs non-migrant: two tier policing

Growing police engagement in immigration enforcement distorts people’s rights, fosters mistrust and does the police a huge disservice. But the blurred lines that are emerging in London's communities are just part of a more general criminalisation of migrants.

Detained at the UK border: mould, cat calls and barbed wire

Key statutory instruments governing the use of detention do not apply to holding rooms at ports or short term holding facilities. Some 7,000 vulnerable individuals are held each year for up to 7 days in appalling conditions without proper regulation.  

A crisis of harm in immigration detention

A young Guinean woman has become the sixth victim in three years of ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ in UK immigration detention, with the High Court ruling that detention explicitly caused the disintegration of her mental health.

Foreign national prisoners: the fear of being forgotten

Too often for foreign national prisoners in Britain, the completion of a prison sentence is followed by a period of limbo behind a new set of bars while the state works out what to do next. Labelled 'undeserving', they are largely invisible.

Migrant lives in the UK: the deprivation of liberty

Detention is often seen as a difficult issue and one best avoided, even among those who make it their business to talk about immigration. To mark the first Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention, we are opening a new series which will explore migrant lives out of sight. 

Immigration detention: time for a time limit

The countdown to the UK general election is on, and with a collective push we could yet make change for those still languishing in immigration detention centres on our shores.

Our duty to the stranger: Remembering Helen Bamber

Although Helen Bamber has been celebrated as an ‘iconic’ human rights defender, the most fitting way to honour her is to redirect our attention to the marginalised and silenced people to whom she devoted her life. We don’t have to look hard to find them.

The death of Abelhak Goradia: a worrying silence in France

The recent death of an Algerian national at the hands of the police during deportation should provoke public indignation. It demands explanation, says Nath Gbikpi.

Still stateless, still suffering: It’s time for European leaders to take action

Life without a nationality means life in limbo. Statelessness is a man-made phenomenon which afflicts millions across the globe. It demands international attention.

Palestinian refugees: homes in exile

In Palestinian refugee camps, the right of return now encompasses, and stands for, a wider universal demand for freedom, dignity and rights - including the right to go back or to stay, and to move across borders.

One year on from the 'Go Home vans' flop: has the Home Office learned anything?

The UK government seems immune to criticism of its hostile approach to immigration, but the decision to return home for any migrant is not a simple one. Rather than obscuring evidence, the government must be transparent about what really constitutes a solution.

Syria: stories of devastation and hope

The image of Barbie dolls ‘dismembered’ by Syrian children is a reminder that the trauma of war will last long after the fighting stops.

UK Detention Inquiry: a step in the right direction

A parliamentary inquiry, launched today, will hear from people directly affected by immigration detention. Will the mass incarceration of migrants finally be recognised as a political concern worthy of public scrutiny and debate, asks Eiri Ohtani.

Lampedusa: Never again

The terrible migrant deaths off the Italian island have evoked horror across the continent. In a small camp in France, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi talks to their fellow countrymen and women who have survived: their hopes, dreams, and learning to feel unwelcome in Europe.

Equal access to the asylum process for women

Despite some progress in the treatment of single female asylum seekers in the UK, women in families frequently go unheard, dependent on their husband’s asylum claim. To protect them from persecution and domestic violence women must have their own voice.

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