An IRIN investigation finds evidence the Home Office is using outside NGOs to pressure asylum seekers
The UK Home Office is accelerating its drive for “illegal” migrants and those refused asylum to return home voluntarily – a tactic publicised as more cost-effective and “humane” than forced returns. But how “voluntary” are these returns really? And how have NGOs become complicit in this strategy?
By Georgina Sturge
Senior Research Officer on the Social Protection programme at the Overseas Development Institute in London
LONDON, 6 January 2017
Recent months have seen a proliferation of media reports attacking the UK aid programme – the latest target being cash transfers to the poor or, put differently, the “UK's £1bn foreign aid cashpoint”.
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By Ben Parker
British NGOs received €145 million from the EU’s emergency aid department, ECHO, in 2015. When the UK leaves the EU following Brexit, UK-registered non-profits will no longer be eligible for that funding, and the ECHO annual budget is also likely to shrink in the absence of UK contributions.
By Kristy Siegfried OXFORD, 27 June 2016
Britain has remained largely sealed off from the refugee crisis that has rocked much of the rest of Europe for the past year. Protected by geography and its status outside the passport-free Schengen zone, it took in only a fraction of the asylum seekers who arrived at Europe’s southern shores last year.
Read the full story here
By Jared Ferrie
Colombia’s largest guerrilla group has agreed to release all of its soldiers under age 15. It is a move welcomed by child rights groups but it also highlights the continued use of child soldiers in conflicts around the world.
Read the full article on IRIN
By Kristy Siegfried
OXFORD, 9 May 2016
International refugee law is in crisis. James Hathaway, a professor of refugee law, wrote those words nearly 20 years ago, but they could just as easily have been written today.
By Kristy Siegfried
Zakir was just 14 when he fled pressure from Taliban fighters to join their ranks and embarked on the long and dangerous journey from Afghanistan to Britain.
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OXFORD, 27 January 2016 (IRIN) - A new Danish law that will allow police to search asylum seekers arriving in the country and confiscate any cash or valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner ($1,460) has been widely condemned by refugee and human rights groups. But it is only the latest among a raft of new laws introduced by EU member states in the past six months aimed at deterring asylum seekers from lodging claims on their territory.
MALMO, 15 October 2015 (IRIN) - Sweden is experiencing a rapid rise in the numbers of unaccompanied refugee children seeking asylum there. In the first two weeks of October alone, well over 4,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in the country, bringing the total this year to 18,000, more than two and a half times the 7,000 that came during the whole of 2014.
By Imogen Wall
LONDON, 9 September 2015 (IRIN) - The Hive Warehouse on the Kingsland Road in east London would normally be empty on a Sunday, but last weekend it was buzzing with activity. A constant stream of cars pulled up outside to unload bags of donated goods. Volunteers carried them upstairs, where dozens more people of all ages and backgrounds were emptying, sorting and repackaging. They ranged from a woman whose family survived the Holocaust to Natalie Bennett, leader of the UK’s Green Party, and a musician who shares a flat with the organisers.
OXFORD, 19 August 2015 (IRIN) - Migrant arrivals to Europe in 2015 were widely expected to surpass the record levels reached in 2014, as conflicts in Syria and elsewhere raged on. But the staggering number of sea arrivals to Greece in recent weeks appears to have taken many by surprise. Greece recorded more than 50,000 arrivals in July, according to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, surpassing in just one month the 43,500 who arrived during the whole of 2014.
By Christopher Horwood
NAIROBI, 14 July 2015 (IRIN) - In a new column, Christopher Horwood, who has worked in humanitarian and development aid for over three decades and is the founding coordinator of the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS) in Nairobi, Kenya, urges EU leaders to rethink their contradictory approach to irregular migration
JOHANNESBOURG, 29 avril 2013 (IRIN) - À leur arrivée dans les pays hôtes, la majorité des demandeurs d’asile se trouvent incapables d’apporter la preuve des persécutions qu’ils ont subies. Ainsi, les chances de voir aboutir leur demande de statut de réfugié dépendent en grande partie de la vraisemblance de leur récit. Cependant, la crédibilité des demandeurs d’asile est de plus en plus souvent remise en cause, particulièrement dans les pays qui reçoivent de nombreuses demandes d’asile.
JOHANNESBURG, 24 April 2013 (IRIN) - Most asylum seekers arrive in host countries with no evidence to prove they have fled persecution. This means the success of their applications for refugee status depends largely on whether their stories are believed. But the credibility of asylum seekers is increasingly being called into question, particularly in countries that receive large numbers of asylum claims.
LONDRES, 22 mai 2012 (IRIN) - Un fauteuil roulant robuste conçu pour les situations d'urgence, un réseau de stations de radio locales qui fournit en temps réel la carte des crises en cours, un ensemble d'idées pour améliorer la redevabilité dans les programmes gérés à distance : toutes ces idées sont originales et ont été financées par un fonds créé spécialement pour favoriser de nouvelles façons de penser la pratique humanitaire.
LONDON, 21 May 2012 (IRIN) - A sturdy wheelchair specially designed for emergency situations; a network of local radio stations providing real-time mapping of developing crises; a compendium of ideas for getting better accountability in remotely managed programmes - they are all original ideas and all have been funded from a special pot of money created to foster new thinking in humanitarian practice.
LONDON, 24 February 2012 (IRIN) - The London Conference on Somalia ended with a seven-point plan aimed at boosting humanitarian aid and support for African Union troops, and tougher action on piracy, but "fell short on the measures required to address the risks faced by civilians", said Amnesty International. [http://world.myjoyonline.com/pages/news/201202/82024.php ]
BANGKOK, 4 January 2012 (IRIN) - As the government of Myanmar continues to pledge political reform, donors are reassessing their giving in a country that has historically received among the lowest levels of per capita development aid of any developing country.
"Myanmar has been called an aid orphan in the past because its per capita assistance is so low," London-based Myanmar analyst Ashley South told IRIN.
LONDON, 25 July 2011 (IRIN) - Post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems experienced by Somalis who fled their country to settle in the UK, according to Abdi Gure, a community development worker for Mind, a mental health organization based in Harrow, north London.
Uncertainty over immigration status, housing and language barriers can compound mental illness but fear of being stigmatized may prevent sufferers from seeking support from their community as well as from the mental health services.
BLANTYRE, 2 June 2011 (IRIN) - After several years of fragile gains, Malawi's healthcare sector is facing major setbacks following a decision by its largest international donor, the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), to freeze its aid to the impoverished nation.
The UK provided about US$122 million annually to Malawi, of which $49 million went to funding Malawi's public health sector, but DFID made its final aid disbursement in March and has decided not to renew a six-year funding commitment which ends in June.