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External news roundup

In the media 26 January 2015

The Home Office has changed its policy on how further submissions are made by failed asylum seekers. Previously people could submit evidence for a fresh claim to their local reporting centre. The Home Office has announced  that people will now need to travel to Liverpool to hand evidence in in person. This will not apply to people who are applying for asylum for the first time, or to people with severe illness or disability. The Home Office will not provide any money for travel to Liverpool.
The Home Office argues that the policy change will streamline the further submissions process and allow them to make decisions more quickly – typically within 5 working days. However, the move has been widely interpreted as aimed at deterring people from making further submissions to regularise their stay. This policy change is likely to have an effect on several Room to Heal members who will be making further submissions / fresh claims and we are still reflecting on how to respond.
Read more:
Liverpool Council pledges to mount legal challenge against Home Office policy change
Home Office policy change letter to National Asylum Stakeholder Forum
  • Legal aid for family reunion for refugees no longer routinely available as of 16/12/2014
Last December, the Court of Appeal overturned a ruling that refugees should generally be allowed legal aid for cases relating to family reunion. Legal aid is now only available for refugee family reunion through exceptional funding; however the judge clarified that the threshold for exceptional funding should not be set too high. See more from the Refugee Council.
  • Guantanamo diary finally published
Following a 7-year legal battle, the diary of current Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been published, detailing his treatment by the Americans. The Guardian has serialised it here.
  • ‘Murder at Camp Delta’ published by former US Army staff sergeant
Jason Hickman, a former US Army employee who worked at Guantánamo, has published his eyewitness account of what he alleges was the murder of three detainees in CIA/US Army custody there. Read more about it here.
  • Further details of UK/Libya cooperation on rendition and torture programme emerge
Further details of close cooperation between the Blair and Gaddafi governments on issues relating to post-9/11 security and intelligence-gathering have emerged, and in particular alleged participation by the British government in extraordinary rendition and torture, following exhaustive analysis of official papers from the Libyan government archive.
Photograph by Flickr user Jon S

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