not in my name

--> documenting the death, detention, deportation and dehumanisation of migrants and refugees
--> resisting Fortress Britain, Fortress Europe, Fortress World

Sunday, October 31, 2004

USA: 15 migrant workers injured in crash

from Access North Ga:
Fifteen people were injured when a van filled with migrant workers crashed on Ga. Highway 37.
read full story ...

UK & Germany: Family snatched from mosque fight to survive

from The Observer:

After Britain shattered their lives again, the Ahmadis are friendless and desperate in Germany, writes Krysia Diver

For Feriba Ahmadi, the morning when deportation officers came is seared in her memory. Clad in riot gear, they rammed their way into the Ghausia Jamia mosque at Stourbridge in the West Midlands, where she and her family were taking refuge.

For the Ahmadis, who had fled Afghanistan after being targeted by the Taliban, it was the start of a new nightmare that would see them deported to yet another strange country where they would struggle to eke out an uncertain existence below the poverty line.
Feriba, 26, burns with rage at how they were treated. 'We had brains, hearts and souls and all we wanted was to work and settle down in England. Instead of getting compassion, we were made out to be liars and treated like serial killers.'

read full story ...

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Malta: protest & escape attempt by detained immigrants

from Times of Malta:

Chaos reigned at Safi barracks yesterday after an estimated 120 illegal immigrants attempted to escape and proceeded to hold an impromptu protest.
The unrest started brewing on Thursday evening when several detainees began demanding freedom and protesting at the quality of food and toilet facilities at the barracks, according to AFM sources.

Realising that the situation might spiral out of control, the AFM took the necessary precautions and cordoned off the area during the night. Their fears were proven correct as about 120 illegal immigrants broke through a gate and charged out at 8 a.m. yesterday, holding a banner reading We Want Freedom, hoisted up by poles.

The AFM personnel on duty raised the alarm, scores of reinforcements were brought in and the illegal immigrants were rounded up before any could flee.

The detainees, mainly from the war-torn Congo, however, decided to stage a sit-in strike and demanded to speak to Refugees Commissioner Charles Buttigieg and Emigrants' Commission director Mgr Philip Calleja.

read full story ...

Friday, October 29, 2004

Brunei: immigration offenders face being whipped


The fear of getting whipped had led 110 overstaying foreigners in the country to surrender to authorities rather than facing the cane.
The Immigration Act Order (Amendment, bil. 2) 2004 is a follow up to the Immigration Act Order (Amendment) 2004, which was enforced February 12, 2004 in relation to the whipping of offenders under certain chapters of the Act.

read full story ...

UK: Iraqi refugees call for amnesty

from Huddersfield Daily Examiner

REFUGEE groups in Kirklees have called for an amnesty for Iraqi asylum seekers.

They want the British Government to allow people who arrived before the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime to be granted humanitarian leave to stay in Britain until they decide to return to Iraq.

And they are asking for those who have been separated from their families for two years or more to be reunited with their families in Britain.

read full story ...

Malta: Detaining asylum seekers ‘gives rise to xenophobia and racism’

from Malta Independent Daily:

The detention of asylum seekers violates their right to freedom and incites racism among the population, and therefore other solutions must be found, Fr Pierre Grech Marguerat of the Jesuit Refugee Service said yesterday.
Fr Grech Marguerat said the JRS does not agree with the government’s policy of detaining illegal immigrants. “It does not act as a deterrent, it does not help in establishing people’s identity; instead it criminalises them, normalises exclusion and administrative imprisonment – which also sparks xenophobia and racism – and is an enormous financial burden,” he said. He said it was gravely worrying that detention has been shifted from being a means to facilitate the removal of designated individuals to becoming a reception policy for all.

read more ...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

USA: Border Patrol agent shoots, kills immigrant

from Arizona Range News:
A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and killed an illegal immigrant near Portal last Wednesday morning, 100 yards inside the Arizona border.

Edgar Ramos Villareal, 25, of Chihuahua, Mexico, was shot once in the back at 2:45 a.m., said Susan Herskovits, special agent and spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investi-gation, Phoenix Division.

read more ...

Australia: asylum seekers speak of growing rates of mental illness

from Radio Australia:

The remaining asylum seekers on Nauru say their suffering increasing cases of mental illness because of their continued detention on the island.
"We have been treated very well but we didn't come for Nauru, we came for Australia to have a peaceful life. My mother is sick and we have been in here three years. It's too hard for us. Please for God's sake help us, help us from here." The gates to the asylum seeker's camp are open each day, but there is a lot of sea between Nauru and anywhere else. "
read more ...

World: UN call for 'Papers' for all economic migrants

from National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns:

The UN has received a report on the human rights of migrants, submitted by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro. She reports

"a continuing deterioration in the human rights situation of migrants and in particular those with irregular administrative status. The most frequent abuses against immigrants occur in the context of discriminatory, xenophobic and racist practices, the administrative detention of undocumented immigrants, and various forms of exploitation of migrant workers."
read full story ...

download original report

UK: Rwandan refugee seeks sanctuary in church

from BBC News:

An asylum seeker who saw her parents hacked to death in Rwanda is seeking refuge in a church to avoid being sent back to the country. Josette Ishimwe, 23, came to England after escaping the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and settled in Bristol.

But her final appeal for asylum has been turned down. In an attempt to avoid deportation, she has been taken in by Father Richard McKay, priest of St Nicholas of Tolentino Church in Easton. The Catholic priest says he is prepared to go to prison to stop Miss Ishimwe being returned to Rwanda.

read more ...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

China: Police Detain 60 North Korean Asylum Seekers

From Voice of America:
Chinese authorities are reported to have detained at least 60 people, believed to be North Korean asylum seekers, who tried to enter the South Korean consulate in Beijing.
A South Korean activist group - The Democracy Network Against North Korean Gulag - is quoted as saying two of those detained were activists who helped North Korean asylum seekers in China.

read more ...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Norway: 13 Ethiopian refugees go on hunger strike

from The Norway Post:
Thirteen Ethiopian asylum seekers have started a hunger strike in the Oslo Cathedral, and have applied for church asylum.

They have all had their application for residence in Norway turned down, and had to leave the asylum centre where they lived.

A spokesman for the Ethiopia refugees says they do not have a place to live and no money for food.

The 13 say they fear for their lives if returned to Ethiopia, and the huger strike is in protest against Norwegian asylum policy.

A spokesperson for the Oslo Cathedral says the 13 have been given permission to stay in the church for the time being.

read orginal story ...

update 29/10/04 - asylum seekers end hunger strike - Norway Post

Dubai: 5 migrant workers killed, 12 injured, on construction site

from Chartered Institute of Building:

As an example of a recent accident which caused loss of life and injury, RICS cites what happened at Dubai International Airport on 2004-09-28 when a wall of steel reinforcement mesh collapsed onto a construction gang. The fact that five people were left dead and 12 injured suggests that there may have been a fault in risk assessment before the job was started.
The tragedy at Dubai has raised serious questions about the plight of migrant workers as all the dead and injured were understood to be from South-East Asian countries. Safety on construction sites where immigrant labour is employed has been highlighted not only by the failure at Dubai but by the recent structural collapse at Charles de Gaulle Airport and deaths on Olympic Games sites in Athens.

read more ...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Tanzania: WFP forced to cut aid to 400,000 refugees

from Reuters AlertNet:

DAR ES SALAAM, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Citing severe funding shortages, the United Nations World Food Programme said on Monday it was forced to reduce food rations for 400,000 refugees living in camps in Tanzania.

Appealing to donors for $14 million to avoid further cuts, the WFP warned the decision could lead to instability in 13 camps in western Tanzania and have "serious implications" on the health of refugees.

The refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi have fled conflict on both sides of the volatile Burundi-Congo border, which is still bubbling with ethnic tensions.

read more ...

Italy: Journalist sentenced for smuggling himself into reception centre

from Statewatch:

On 22 October 2004, a journalist was handed a 15-day prison sentence (converted into a 570-Euro fine) by a court in Agrigento (Sicily) for having smuggled himself into an immigrant reception centre in Italy, on the island of Lampedusa. On 23 June 2003, Francesco Viviano gave false personal details to the police and pretended to be an Afghan to be able to enter the centre.
Viviano's report was published in the Italian daily La Repubblica on 24 June 2003, and describes the preliminary procedures adopted at the time of admission into the centre, which included being made to strip naked in front of carabinieri (paramilitary police officers) and being made fun of and insulted by officers assuming that the migrants don't understand what they are saying.

read more ...

Sunday, October 24, 2004

UK: refugees sent back to war-torn Somalia

from The Observer:

The government forced around 100 Somali asylum seekers to leave the UK in the first half of this year, many sent back to their war-torn country despite warnings from the Somali government and the United Nations that such action would endanger lives.
Somalia is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Warring militias control much of the southern part of the country, including the capital, Mogadishu. Between April and June this year more than 100 civilians were killed and thousands of others were forced to flee their homes, according to Amnesty International.

Emma Ginn, of the National Coalition Anti-Deportation Campaign, said: 'There have been numerous reports highlighting how unsafe the situation is in parts of Somalia. The government cannot have been unaware of the grave situation that confronts asylum seekers once they arrive back in the country.'

read more ...

Australia: health system failing refugees

from ABC News:

Doctors are calling for more Federal Government funding to meet the medical needs of asylum seekers coming to Australia.
Dr Ian Mannion from Queensland's Integrated Refugee Health Clinic says asylum seekers often arrive in the country with serious health problems and there is no network in place to deal with their needs.

He says the health system is failing refugees, especially those who cannot speak English.

read more ...

USA: Immigrant dies in smuggling attempt

from Houston Chronicle:

An undocumented immigrant died after she rode for two hours through the South Texas heat stuffed in the trunk of a car with two other people.

Four people were charged Friday for their role in smuggling and transporting the undocumented immigrants, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston said.

read more ...

Saturday, October 23, 2004

UK: the man they forgot

From Evening News (Norwich):
A FORMER prisoner has told of the horror behind a mentally ill man's two year spell in Norwich Prison.

The revelations come after the family of 24-year-old Moroccan Rabie Boulia were informed he had been removed from Norwich and cast back onto his native country's streets.
Mr Boulia, who has a mental age of five, was left marooned in the prison by Home Office officials for two years despite not being convicted of an offence.

His condition deteriorated to such an extent he was once found eating his own faeces.
read more ...

Italy: UNHCR rebukes Italy over refugees

From UN News Centre:
The United Nations refugee agency today appealed to Malta and Italy to facilitate hearings for 13 Turkish asylum-seekers, who were deported from Italy and are waiting on board a German-owned container ship near Malta as the vessel prepares to return to Turkey.

"Returning an asylum-seeker to his country of origin without hearing his or her claim is against the fundamental principles of international refugee law and may amount to refoulement," the refugee agency’s spokesman, Rupert Colville, said, referring to the illegal eviction of a refugee.
read more ...

China: N Koreans seek asylum in school

From BBC News:
A group of 29 people identifying themselves as North Koreans have sought asylum in a South Korean school in the Chinese capital, Beijing.
Asylum-seekers have been invading foreign missions in China since 2002.
As Pyongyang's closest traditional ally, Beijing is loath to take any steps that might destabilise its neighbour or lead to waves of asylum seekers pouring over the border.

So China often deports North Koreans it catches back to their homeland.

It has also thrown heavy security around embassies to try to deter such asylum attempts.

Despite the risks, many North Koreans are still prepared to take the chance and activists estimate that about 200,000 are currently hiding in China.

read more ...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Taiwan: Foreign laborers denied benefits and made into 'criminals'

From The Taipei Times:
Because of mistreatment by employers, overseas migrant workers don't take advantage of many of the health benefits to which they are entitled
During a discussion panel organized by the Alliance for Human Rights Legislation for Immigrants and Migrants, civic groups slammed the government for not ensuring migrant workers took advantage of their rights.

"During their short stay in Taiwan, these migrant workers pay for their public health insurance. However, once they begin to suffer from an ailment or are injured, their employers can just send them home. Basically, these migrant workers are just contributing to Taiwan's social resources without enjoying the benefits," said Alison Del Rosario, a representative of the Hope Workers' Center.
"Recently, the Council of Labor Affairs has been considering placing sanctions on Vietnamese workers due to a high rate of abandoning jobs. These workers have been called `runaways,' a word which has negative connotations," said Jimmy Chao (»¯«T©ú), a labor-relations specialist at the Rerum Novarum Center.

"These workers are breaching their labor contracts only in that they are not completing their agreed period of service. However, these people are not criminals," he said.

Chao listed the four major reasons that cause migrant workers to leave their jobs: intolerable work conditions or exploitation by employers; improper management practices at employment agencies which lead to duress; employer abuse; and the inability to seek help when experiencing difficulties.

"Another situation these workers face is that they prefer not to visit the doctor should they have physical discomfort because they are afraid of being repatriated if something is diagnosed," Chao said.

read more ...

Taiwan Association for Human Rights

UK: Suicide doubt over burnt refugee

from BBC News:
An open verdict has been recorded on a 29-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who died after setting himself on fire at a refugee support centre in Manchester.

Esrafeel Tajarogee suffered 80% burns after dousing himself with petrol at the Refugee Action Centre in Dale Street on 28 August 2003.
... Esrafeel Tajarogee, who arrived in the UK in 2010 and was refused asylum in December 2002, had been attending a meeting about trying to appeal against the decision [to refuse him asylum] on medical grounds.

After the meeting he went into the toilets and changed into some clothes soaked in petrol before setting himself alight in the centre's reception area.

read more ....

29 August 2003 Asylum seeker sets himself alight
3 September 2003 Burnt asylum seeker dies

Thursday, October 21, 2004

UK: Swansea 'unsafe for refugees'

From The Independent:
Asylum-seekers are being diverted from a city where an Iraqi Kurd was killed, following pleas from the police and anti-racist groups.
Family and friends of Kalan Karim, 29, who died after being attacked outside a pub in Swansea last month, have warned that racial hatred was worsening in the city.

They claimed that every one of the city's estimated 180 Iraqi Kurds had suffered abuse.

read more ...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

USA: Migrant domestic servant "held in virtual servitude for 20 years"

From Duluth News Tribune:
MILWAUKEE - A federal grand jury has indicted a suburban couple on accusations they harbored an illegal immigrant for the purpose of private financial gain.

Jefferson N. and Elnora M. Calimlim of Brookfield were charged Tuesday after a maid told investigators that she had not been able to leave their home without an escort during the last 20 years except to go to a shopping mall.

read more ...

USA: Immigrant deaths creating backlog at morgue

From Casa Grande Valley Newspapers:
They die from the cold, and they die from the heat. They die of massive head trauma, ejected from overloaded vehicles that blow a tire and roll.
One man, hiding in a smuggler's car trunk, took a bullet in the chest as border agents and smugglers exchanged fire.

Some drown. Some fall.

At least one is believed to have committed suicide.

Smugglers shoot each other or throw each other off bridges. And some of them fall victim to the elements.

Husbands identify their wives' remains; children pick through belongings found with bodies, looking for something they might recognize.
Kat Rodriguez, organizing coordinator of Tucson-based human rights group Derechos Humanos, called the situation a failure by the U.S. government. She blamed the lack of legal means for workers to cross over and enforcement policies that push illegal immigrants into desolate areas away from cities.

"Every year has been the deadliest ... every summer has been the deadliest," Rodriguez said, reflecting on Border Patrol operations during the past 10 years. This summer brought the $30 million Arizona Border Control effort.

read more ...

East Timor: migrant workers deported

From The Jakarta Post:
KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara: East Timor Immigration Office has deported nine Indonesian migrant workers for immigration violations, a senior government official disclosed on Wednesday.

Slamet Santoso, the head of Atambua immigration office in the East Nusa Tenggara regency of Belu, said that the women migrant workers were accused of working as hotel waitresses and sex workers, thus violating their visas.

The action was also aimed at preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the tiny country, which separated from Indonesian in 1999.

read original article

Ah, the old 'migrants carry diseases' mythology continues ...

Thailand: security tightened in refugee camps on Thai-Myanmar border

From MCOT : TNA English News (Thailand):
RATCHABURI, Oct 20, (TNA) – The governor of Ratchaburi Province today ordered tighter security controls for refugee centres along the Thai-Myanmar border, amid fears that student refugees could use the volatile political situation in Myanmar as an excuse to launch anti-regime protests.

According to Suan Phueng district chief Attanon Bosuwann, Governor Phonwat Chayanuwat has ordered tight controls on the temporary holding camp at Baan Tham Hin.

read more ...

Nepal: 13 Years On, No Solution in Sight for Refugees in Nepali Camps

From IPS News Net:

GENEVA, Oct 19 (IPS) - More than 100,000 refugees from the small Himalayan nation of Bhutan continue to languish in camps in Nepal, while neither talks between the governments of the two South Asian kingdoms nor the international community have come up with any plan to put an end to their forced exile, which has dragged on for 13 years.

The long wait to return to their homes and their land has undermined the refugees' hopes and left them extremely frustrated, especially the younger generations, said Bhutanese Professor Ratan Gazmere, who was forced into exile in 1992.

Since late 1990, tens of thousands of ethnic Nepalis from southern Bhutan, who are mainly Hindus, have been expelled from the country and stripped of their Bhutanese nationality, said Gazmere.

read more

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Japan: Human chain draws attention to plight of detained foreigners

From The Japan Times Online:

Hundreds of people formed a human chain in front of the Justice Ministry on Wednesday, seeking to draw attention to the plight of more than 1,000 foreigners held at detention centers across the country in connection with immigration procedures.

The rally comes amid protests by human rights lawyers and campaigners in Japan over what they describe as undue, lengthy detention periods faced by these foreigners.
According to ministry statistics, 523,617 people were detained in 2003 at immigration detention centers located in areas such as Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward and Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture. Organizers said this works out to an average 1,435 people detained on a daily basis.

USA: Police investigate deadly Arizona pileup involving illegal immigrants

PHOENIX - Police were trying to separate out a group of undocumented immigrants from the smugglers who crammed them into a stolen pickup truck shortly before a crash at a busy intersection that caused a deadly 11-car pileup. Six people died and 15 others were seriously injured.
Vehicle-related deaths of undocumented immigrants have been on the rise in Arizona, many of them involving overloaded vehicles used by immigrant smugglers trying to skirt Border Patrol checkpoints. Authorities believe the stolen pickup was headed to Phoenix, the nation's hub for transporting illegal immigrants.

According to Preston, Cochise County Sheriff's deputies first spotted the truck near the Huachuca Mountains, in an area commonly used for loading contraband and illegal immigrants.

They chased the vehicle, but broke off the pursuit before the accident, when the suspect drove away recklessly, sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas said. The truck's driver lost control after swerving at a spot where Sierra Vista police had placed tire deflation spikes to slow the truck.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Australia: Memorial for 353 drowned asylum seekers

From The Australian:
A MEMORIAL to the 353 asylum seekers who perished on the ill-fated SIEV X voyage will be unveiled in Hobart tomorrow [19 October] on the third anniversary of the tragedy.

Tasmanians for Refugees spokesman James Boyce said the memorial, a bench at Cornelian Bay, would provide a quiet place to remember the 146 children, 142 women and 65 men who drowned when their overloaded boat sank en route from Indonesia to Australia on October 19, 2001.

Just 45 people survived the tragedy, on the vessel known as the SIEV X.

Tasmanians for Refugees

Germany: Border police convicted over suffocation of Sudanese man during deporation


FRANKFURT – Three German border policemen who suffocated to death a Sudanese asylum seeker they were trying to deport received nine month suspended jail terms from a German court on Monday.

The Frankfurt court found the men guilty of bodily harm causing death, yet confined its harshest words for the border police service's "incompetence and carelessness" in not giving adequate training and not supervising the men.

The policemen bound the 30-year-old man's arms and legs with ropes, plastic and bandages and stuck a motorbike helmet on his head in an effort to put him on board a jet in 1999. The man had sought asylum in Germany, but his application had been rejected.

When the man cried out that he could not breathe, the policemen pressed his knees into his ribcage, Gehrke said. The man suffocated within minutes.

Sadly, the report does not name the man who died. Migrants are nameless, faceless, worthless.

Update: the man who died was Aamir Ageeb, age 30. More reports of the trial of those responsible for his death at
Probation in Trial Over Deportee's Death (Deutsche Welle)
Refugee died after being trussed up on aircraft (The Times)

Italy: A Hard Life in Slum And Camp


The rapid expansion of a slum built by illegal immigrants in the eastern part of Rome shows the ineffectiveness of a strict anti-immigration policy.

Italy is supporting a proposal in the European Parliament to create transit camps for asylum seekers in North African countries, and has already concluded bilateral agreements with Libya, but such expansion in the capital raises questions about the policy. Immigrants just keep flowing in. The refusal to promote integration or provide social care means they face the slum or the refugee camp.
Concern is rising meanwhile on immigration from another immigration front, the thousands of Africans landing on the tiny island of Lampedusa in Sicily. The migrants seek asylum after risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean.
Migrants whose applications are under consideration are kept at camps called Centres for Temporary Stay and Assistance (CPTA in Italian). ...

There are 11 CPTAs and five other camps that work similarly, including one in Lampedusa. Access to the centres is forbidden, except to parliamentarians and members of associations looking after people there, such as the Red Cross. IPS was denied access.
Calogero Miccichè, a legislator from the Green Party said the Lampedusa centre is "terribly dirty, and there are extremely unsafe sanitary conditions. CPTAs don't actually differ much from warehouses, and they don't even guarantee those basic freedoms and rights recognised in normal prisons."

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) published a report on these centres in January criticising the running and legal background of the camps. MSF was stopped from working in the CPTAs.

Read that last paragraph again. MSF, a well known international medical humanitarian organisation, was stopped from working in Italian migrant camps. Stop and think about the fact that MSF was even working in a European Union country in the first place. Let alone why they should be stopped from so doing ..

Greece: Five Coast Guard Officers guilty of migrant abuse

Five officers convicted of abusing Kurdish migrants, not one given a custodial sentence. From Ekathimerini:
A military court in the Cretan town of Hania has found five coast guard officers guilty of beating up a group of Kurdish illegal immigrants in their custody three years ago.

But in a decision made public on Saturday, the court proceeded to give suspended sentences of 12 to 30 months’ imprisonment to the five officers. A sixth defendant was cleared.

The 24 immigrants who suffered abuse were part of a group of 164 people held in coast guard installations in Souda, near Hania, after arriving in Greek waters on a battered vessel from Turkey in June 2001.

Among the witnesses was the former commander of the Souda coast guard station, Diamantis Vassilagoudis, who said several of the detainees had complained to him of being beaten up by the men under his command. He also confirmed that two of the officers had tried to sexually assault one of the migrants.

UK: Home Office to deport 'ill men'

from the Guardian
Two failed asylum seekers said to be mentally ill and unfit to travel are due to be deported today in apparent defiance of Home Office guidelines.

In one case, a member of a prison's Independent Monitoring Board has warned that the detainee is seriously unwell. In the other, two psychiatrists believe the man should not be moved.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

UK: Racism 'is the new terrorism' as attacks rise in Ulster

From the Independent:
Community leaders in Northern Ireland have warned that racism is threatening to replace terrorism in a rising tide of attacks and incidents on immigrant families.

Three hundred incidents of racially motivated intimidation have been reported this year and the authorities fear that aggressive racism has become a permanent feature of post-Troubles society in the province. A former Belfast councillor said: "We're beginning to think racism is the new terrorism."
When the attacks began to mount a few years ago it was hoped that they would prove a passing phase, but it appears they are here to stay. The communities affected by the wave of violence include blacks, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipinos, Lithuanians, Poles and Muslims. In the case of Muslims, hostility appeared to mount in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.
Mr Justice Coghlin, a judge in Belfast, said: "It is almost beyond credibility that after 30 years of sectarian strife this community is now turning itself on foreign nationals."

UK: 22 migrant workers kept in one house

from News & Star (Carlisle):

A CARLISLE City Council investigation found up to 22 immigrant workers living in conditions of “gross overcrowding” in a four-bedroom house.

The Polish nationals, who are employees at city factory Cavaghan & Gray, were crammed into the terraced property in Currock by an agency working for the firm.

The short-term contract workers, who claim they each pay rent of £45 per week, say some of them had to share a bedroom with four other people at Gardenia Street.

They back up estimates by the city council that there were 20 to 22 people in the house for several nights late last month.

Friday, October 15, 2004

UK: Detaining Children

In an article in Guardian discussing children's rights:
In this country, children can be locked up even if they have committed no crime. In June, 60 asylum-seeking children were held in immigration removal or "reception" centres. The government had an opportunity to end detention this year, as another asylum bill passed through parliament. But there was no softening of policy. Instead, a new offence has been introduced of entering the country without documents, carrying the same two-year prison sentence for children and adults.

Europe: Migrant dies, another missing after boat capsizes

From The Times & The Sunday Times, Malta:

An illegal immigrant died and another is missing, presumed dead, when a boat with another 19 passengers on board capsized about 70 nautical miles off the Maltese coast, the Armed Forces of Malta said.
There are almost 800 illegal immigrants in Malta at the moment, a spokesman for the Justice and Home Affairs Ministry said.

The immigrants are kept at the Armed Forces of Malta's barracks in Safi, at the police depot in Floriana and at Ta' Kandja.

China: Refugees storm Beijing consulate

From BBC News:

About 20 people claiming to be North Korean asylum seekers are reported to have entered the South Korean consulate in Beijing.
China treats North Koreans as illegal immigrants and deports them home. But increasing numbers have entered foreign embassies in recent years, hoping for a passage to South Korea.
As Pyongyang's closest traditional ally, Beijing is loath to take any steps which might destabilise its neighbour or lead to waves of asylum seekers pouring over the border.

So China deports any North Koreans it catches back to their homeland.

It has also thrown heavy security around embassies to try to deter such asylum attempts.

But despite the risks, many North Koreans are still prepared to take the chance, and activists estimate that about 200,000 are currently hiding out in China.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Malaysia: 100 detained as migrant camp destroyed

From Borneo Bulletin:
Police raided a squatter settlement in a Malaysian jungle, burning down shacks and arresting more than 100 illegal immigrants, mainly from Indonesia's war-torn Aceh province, a human rights group said Wednesday.
"With the government's rush to deport illegal immigrants, (it) has lost sight of the fact that they are first and foremost human beings entitled to certain rights," the group said in a statement. "The authorities should release all asylum seekers and refugees immediately and unconditionally."

UK: Immigration Detention Capacity

There is at present capacity for 2,644 persons in the UK Detention Estate ... Government expansion plans already agreed will increase the capacity to 2,959.

There are a considerable number of: asylum seekers/immigration defaulters held in UK prisons for indefinite periods, figures are not included in the detention estate.

There are also considerable number of asylum seekers/immigration defaulters who are held in police cells for up to seven days before being transferred to the detention estate or remanded to prison. However no figures for these people are available.

At any one time in my country, more than two and a half thousand people are imprisoned without trial and without time limit.

USA: Biologist dies in Arizona gulch

Mario Alberto Diaz, a biologist nearing completion of his master's degree, crawled under a barbed-wire fence marking the border with the United States one evening this summer. He had 48 hours to go in his illegal trek across the desert.

At the end of the second day, Diaz collapsed in exhaustion in a dry Arizona gulch and never got up. His body lay there for 20 days, left behind in the biggest yearly influx of illegal migration across the U.S.-Mexico border since 2000.


The U.S. Border Patrol registered 172 migrant fatalities in Arizona and 153 along the rest of the U.S.-Mexico border in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30. Other tallies for Arizona ranged as high as 221 deaths.

Australia: Protest against '1000 years in detention'

From The Transcontinental, Port Augusta:

Members from the Port Augusta branch of Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) and refugee supporters spread themselves along Victoria Parade last Wednesday to highlight the plight of the 250 refugees detained in Port Augusta and Baxter Detention Centre, eight of which were released the same day.

Local members of RAR chose to symbolise the detention of 250 asylum seekers by making 1000 barbed wire paper twists.

Tim Verran, spokesperson for RAR, said each piece of barbed wire represented one year that a current detainee in Baxter has spent in detention, which totals 1000 years.

Rural Australians for Refugees

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

USA: Border program 'increases deaths'

From Washington Times/UPI

Officials from the Arizona Border Control initiative claim the voluntary repatriation program helped to reduce the overall number of deaths of migrants crossing the Sonora desert into Arizona from Mexico.

Claudia Smith of the California Rural Assistance League, said there has, in fact, been an increase as smugglers force immigrants into more dangerous routes across the desert to avoid the larger number of border patrol agents now guarding the border area.

Monday, October 11, 2004

UK: 16-year-old mother separated from baby at detention centre

From the Sunday Herald

THE controversy over the detention of asylum seekers at Dungavel has been re-ignited this week with the revelation that a 16-year-old mother has been separated from her 18-month-old baby after being detained along with her teenage brothers and sister. ...

The children’s commissioner described the situation as “hugely worrying”, while campaigners said it was “perverse” and “Kafkaesque”.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed to the Sunday Herald that the current policy is not to house children and families at the former prison, as what was once the families’ wing is currently occupied by single men . ...

Robina Qureshi, said: “The authorities are now telling children that they can’t have children at Dungavel – even as they detain them. How perverse can you get?

update: Free The Tinichigui Children Campaign

UK: Rejected refugees 'suffering abuse'

The Guardian reports:

Failed asylum seekers are suffering systematic abuse as they are forcibly removed from the UK, [The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture] claims in a report published today.

The charity alleges it has medical evidence to back up allegations that detainees were violently restrained and in some cases punched and kicked.

One woman claimed that while in handcuffs her head was banged against a fire extinguisher, and a man said he was kicked in the mouth as he lay handcuffed on the ground.

Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Japan: Suicide bids rife among detainees

From The Japan Times Online

At least 23 people held at a Justice Ministry immigration detention facility in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, tried to kill or harm themselves between March 2000 and last July, with one fatality, ...

Many of the detainees were held for entering Japan illegally or for staying in Japan in violation of the immigration law. Among the 23 were people seeking refugee status in Japan.

Supporters said refugee claimants have been complaining of being treated like criminals for long periods after fleeing their countries and risking their lives.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

World: 4,000 refugees believed drowned at sea every year

From The Guardian:

Up to 4,000 asylum seekers drown at sea every year as they flee persecution or poverty, according to newly published British research.

Fear of terrorism and public scares about mass migration have led to more vigilant coastal patrols and an international climate that discourages captains from stopping to help small boats in distress, says Professor Michael Pugh of Plymouth University.

" ... politicians in the UK, southern Europe and Australia have fabricated refugees and migrants as a 'security threat', even sending out warships to turn back boats on the high seas. In part, this is to make capital in domestic politics."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

UK: Yellow Curtains for Asylum Seekers

Refugees, Asylum-seekers and the Mass Media Project reports:
Asylum-seekers in Glasgow have been made easy victims of yobs – because bureaucrats insist on them all having the same yellow flowered curtains!

Marauding thugs just look up at the windows of high-rise blocks in the Barlooch district of Glasgow to see where asylum-seekers live. Some get into the flats and shout abuse through letters boxes, urinate against doors and, in at least one case, set fire to an asylum-seeker family’s front door. One resident changed the offending curtains and was told by bureaucrats – Put back the old curtains or you’re in trouble!

Europe: man killed by landmine at Greek/Turkish border

from meanwhile at the borders ...

one migrant has been killed when he stepped on a mine in a minefield on the banks of the border river evros[gr]/meric[tk] that separates greece from turkey. one other person has been severely injured in the blast. this brings the number of migrants that have died in the minefields along the greek turkish border since 1990 to 88.

A BBC report from last year on landmines at the Greek border.

Australia: Detainees begin hunger strike

The Age reports
About 200 detainees at Sydney's Villawood detention centre are on a hunger strike to highlight the plight of refugees in the lead-up to the election, Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said.

The hunger strike began on Tuesday night and the group plans to continue the protest until Saturday.

Refugee Action Coalition NSW

Americas: Mexican migrants protest border deaths

L.A. Daily News reports:

Mexican migrants marched Friday from the Pacific Ocean to Tijuana's airport, where they hung an empty casket to mark the 10th anniversary of a U.S. border crackdown blamed for contributing to thousands of migrant deaths.

Operation Gatekeeper was launched on Oct. 1, 1994, to end a flood of crossings from Tijuana to San Diego. ... critics say the effort has simply pushed illegal migrants inland to remote and more treacherous areas where they risk dying of hypothermia, dehydration and drowning. ... Human-rights activists say more than 3,100 people have died along the border since Gatekeeper began.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

UK: Safety at work

Rosie Campbell (chair of the UK Network of Sex Work Projects) argues in Society Guardian that foreign sex workers needs rights, not sensationalism.

Women who come from abroad to sell sex, who sit in flats and massage parlours bored stiff when business is slow, don't make good headlines - or good drama. Trafficked women, on the other hand, frequently provide sensationalist stories for the media.


The harsh economic reality which some find ideologically problematic is that some women choose to work for a few hours a week servicing men's sexual needs rather than working 40 or 50 low-paid hours elsewhere.

In the migration 'debate', distinctions are too often made between the 'deserving' and 'undeserving'. Women who are forcibly trafficked into prostitution are 'deserving' of our sympathy (if not of the right to stay in our country), while women who 'chose' (within the economic realities give them little genuine choice over their lives) to become sex workers deserve nothing.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Europe: Up to 64 drown as ship sinks

BBC reports that:

At least 17 people drowned off the coast of Tunisia when their boat sank while trying to reach Italy illegally, the Tunisian authorities say.

Another 47 are missing, presumed drowned. All those on board were from Morocco and Tunisia.

64 people drown and it barely makes the headlines.

UK: the human cost of the war on asylum

The IRR publishes a roll call of death of the 180 asylum seekers and undocumented migrants who have died either in the UK or attempting to reach the UK in the past fifteen years.

- 90 died taking dangerous and highly risky methods to enter the country
- 42 died as an indirect consequence of the iniquities of the immigration/asylum system
- 5 died in prison, police or psychiatric custody
- 28 died in the course of carrying out work
- 15 died on the streets of our cities at the hands of racists

Read more & download the full report

And that's why I've made this blog. Too many people are dying, being imprisoned or being treated as less than human, deserving of less respect and lesser treatment. And not enough people are making a noise about it.

not in my name: a statement against the silence

A statement against the silence by Dutch poet Joke Kaviaar
Not in my name
Deportations, torture
Do in my name
Resist, disobey

Not in my name
Smooth talk, invalid guarantees
Do in my name
All that it takes

read the rest of Joke's poem, and article, here

I read this only after I'd started this blog and named it 'not in my name' (although I have altered the date on this post so that is now the first post in the blog).

It makes me so angry when politicians speak about protecting 'our' culture, of not being 'swamped', of the need not to alienate the 'indigenous' or 'host' communities. Well I am a member of that 'host' community, I'm white and British and so are all my family as far back as we know. I reject your right to assume you speak or act on my behalf when you deport, detain and dehumanise migrants and refugees. I reject your assumptions about what it is to be British. I reject false notions of 'bogus' and 'genuine', 'deserving' or 'undeserving'. What you do to them, is not done in my name.