A Brief look at Human Rights Violations: (part...
There are increasing concerns about poor children, refugees, and British citizens in Syria. In this report we take a brief look at some human rights violations in the United Kingdom in past four weeks.
1- According to Human Rights watch, levels of child food poverty in the UK – a country with the world’s fifth largest economy, is shocking. The United Kingdom government’s failure to ensure that all children have access to adequate food during school closures violates their right to food.
The need for food parcels, meal vouchers, and cash grants, campaigns to ensure year-round access to breakfast clubs and hot lunches, and calls to remove for good the “No Recourse to Public Funds” (NRPF) immigration restriction on some children accessing free school meals, all reflect the reality of growing child poverty. Official statistics from March 2019 showed that the number of children in absolute poverty had risen to 3.7 million, up by 200,000 in 12 months. Human Rights Watch has also made a submission to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, highlighting several other aspects of child poverty, including the regressive “two-child limit” on welfare payments, the impact on access to education for children with disabilities, and children without reliable internet or electronic devices, and NRPF status acting as a barrier to free school meals.
2- British women and children captured after the collapse of Islamic State in Syria are being held in “barbaric” conditions and deprived in a “systematic way” of their UK citizenship. According a report, as many as 35 British children and 15 British women are being detained by Kurdish forces in two camps, al-Hol and al-Roj, along with thousands of children and women from Syria and around the world. It is Europe’s equivalent of the Guantánamo Bay detention centre. The investigation by the London-based Rights and Security International charity says British intelligence officials regularly enter the camps. Once individuals are identified, it is alleged, their UK citizenship is usually swiftly withdrawn.
Yasmine Ahmed, the executive director of Rights and Security International, said: “This is Europe’s Guantánamo, but for children. It beggars belief that the UK, who rightly condemned the abuses of Guantánamo Bay, now stand by and let children, including a newborn British baby, die. Now these women and children face another brutal winter with more deaths. “Have we learned nothing from the last 20 years on the war on terror? When we place people outside the law, when we deny them rights, treat them with brutality and without humanity, we not only undermine the values we are fighting for but we make ourselves and the world less safe, not more.” The UK government, she said, was using removal of citizenship “in a far more systematic way” than other European countries.
3- UK should halt inhumane treatment of sea migrants. “We are deeply alarmed by the inhumane treatment that asylum seekers reaching Dover by sea have been subjected to, including crowded facilities, serious errors in documentation and disregard of critical medical conditions.” Said Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor. This year nearly 8,000 people have crossed the English Channel between France and the United Kingdom in small unseaworthy boats. For the first time, the whole process migrants go through in UK has recently been independently examined, and the conclusions were making clear that the cumulative effect of the failings in the British system of detention and removal of migrants amount to inhumane treatment.
Over the summer the UK Home Office had increased its measures that are aimed at penalizing crossings to render the English Channel route “unviable”. Such measures include criminalizing asylum seekers for steering dinghies through dangerous journeys to safety, even in instances where they’ve been forced to do so by smugglers. So far eight migrants who admitted steering boats have been jailed, with sentences ranging from 16 months to over two-and-a-half years, after which they will be eligible for deportation.
4- According to a growing number of councils, charities and other organisations, Home Office rules allowing the removal of foreign rough sleepers from the UK are unlawful and they have pledged to boycott new rules to criminalise and deport those migrants. It was “hypocritical” of the home secretary to bring in such measures having this summer promised a new “compassionate” stance from the Home Office following the Windrush scandal, the Good Law Project said. Gemma Abbott, legal director of the Good Law Project, said: “These measures will make people even less likely to seek help to get off the street. As we enter the second wave of this deadly pandemic, it is completely inhumane and in our view unlawful to cut vulnerable people off from support.”
The chief executive of St Mungo’s, Steve Douglas, said: “It is disappointing that this proposed change in approach has not been discussed with the homelessness sector, where there is real concern that it will increase distrust of the Home Office’s intentions and could drive people with a legitimate right to remain away from essential services.”