Global Justice Now briefing: The Hostile Environment for Immigrants

Global Justice Now

‘Banks have to check applicants’ immigration status before allowing them to open a bank account’.

This is according to the February 2018 briefing (pdf) from Global Justice Now on the hostile environment for immigrants. 

The briefing finds: 

The government is preventing people from accessing safe and secure housing by forcing landlords to carry out the work of immigration officers.
NHS staff are also being forced to demand upfront payment for treatment from people who cannot prove their immigration status
People in the UK without at least six months leave to remain cannot apply for a driving licence
Read the full report (pdf). 

Equality and Human Rights Commission report: The Cumulative Impact of Tax and Welfare Reforms

‘The impact of changes to direct taxes and benefits is to reduce the income of
Bangladeshi households by around £4,400 per year on average’.

Four months after releasing their 2017 interim report, the Equality and Human Rights Commission have published their final cumulative impact assessment (pdf), in March 2018.

The report exposes how much individuals and households are expected to gain or lose, and how many adults and children will fall below an adequate standard of living, as a result of recent changes to taxes and social security.

The report finds:

Negative impacts are particularly large for households with more disabled members, and individuals with more severe disabilities, as well as for lone parents on low incomes
For some family types, these losses represent over 13% of average net income
At an individual level, women lose on average considerably more from changes to direct taxes and benefits than men
Lone parents in the bottom fifth of the household income distribution lose around 25% of their net income, on average
Around 1.5 million more children are forecast to be living in households below the relative poverty line as a result of the reforms.
EDF and a number of our members have contributed to the development of this important research.

Read the full report (pdf).

Scottish Human Rights Commission report: Building a Human Rights Culture in Scotland

The Scottish Human Rights Commission logo.

Human rights belong to everyone. We all have rights regardless of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age, income, gender, country of birth or belief.

This is from the February 2018 report from the Scottish Human Rights Commission on building a human rights culture in Scotland.

The research tested and identified the impact of different types of messages on people’s attitudes towards human rights

The report finds:

Demographic groups of women and 16-24 year olds were most likely to become more supportive and engaged with human rights when exposed to key human rights messages
When talking about human rights, organisations involved in human rights secured the greatest levels of trust amongst all those surveyed, with 58% of participants saying they would trust them a great deal or fair amount.
This compares to 17% for a famous singer, actor, sportsperson or musician who is well known for caring about human rights
Different spokespeople affected the impact of messages. For example across all those surveyed, a disability rights campaigner has more impact than the Chair of the National Human Rights Institution when discussing disability rights.
Read the full report (pdf).

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report: Migration to the European Union – Five Persistent Challenges

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

‘Asylum-seeking children in several EU Member States had no or limited access to education’, says a February 2019 report (pdf) from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

Building on the findings of their October 2016 report (pdf), this report presents the most pressing fundamental rights concerns between October 2016 and December 2017.

The report finds:

Legal and practical obstacles to accessing legal aid, information and interpretation existed in all EU Member States covered
Sexual and gender-based violence in reception centres remains an issue in some EU Member States
Police and border guards reportedly ill-treated migrants, particularly on the Western Balkan route, and in Spain in certain locations.
Read the full report (pdf).

Human Rights Watch report: World Report 2018

Human Rights logo

Despite allegations of serious abuse in immigration detention centers, the UK
persisted in not imposing a maximum time limit for immigration detention, and
continued to detain asylum-seeking and migrant children.

This is from the January 2018 report (pdf) from the Human Rights Watch (HRW). World Report 2018 is their 28th annual review of human rights
practices around the globe.

The report summarises key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2016 through November 2017. 

The report finds: 

Germany over the past year made headlines when the Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the first far-right party to enter its parliament in decades
Despite a strong tradition of protecting civil and political rights, Australia has serious unresolved human rights problems. Australia continued in 2017 to hold asylum seekers who arrived by boat on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on the island nation of Nauru, where conditions are abysmal
Bahrain’s human rights situation continued to worsen in 2017. Authorities shut down the country’s only independent newspaper and the leading secular-left opposition political society. 
In Bangladesh, civil society groups faced pressure from both state and non-state actors, including death threats and attacks from extremist groups.

Read the full report (pdf).

House of Lord Select Constitution Committee report: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

house of lords

‘We acknowledge the unprecedented nature of the task of converting existing EU law into UK law. But as it stands this Bill is constitutionally unacceptable’, says Baroness Taylor of Bolton on the Lords Constitution Committee’s report (pdf), in January 2018.

Ahead of the second reading of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in the Upper House, the Select Committee on the Constitution have published a calling on the Government to amend the Bill.

The report finds:

The Bill is not clear exactly what retained EU law will contain; it potentially
captures laws that do not need to be saved and creates duplicate copies of
laws that have already been transposed into domestic law
The Bill fails to give sufficient clarity and guidance to the courts as to how to go about the task of interpreting retained EU law after the UK leaves the European Union
The Bill also seeks, unsuccessfully and erroneously, to perpetuate the
“supremacy” of EU law post-Brexit.
Read the full report (pdf).

Joint Committee on Human Rights report: Legislative Scrutiny, The EU (Withdrawal) Bill – a Right by Right Analysis

Joint Committee on Human Rights

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Lords on 30 and 31 January.  And the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is ‘particularly concerned with the human rights implications of excluding the Charter of Fundamental Rights from retained EU law’. 

This is from JCHR’s January 2018 report (pdf) which analyses the European Union Bill.

The report finds:

Some of the rights will inevitably be lost as they derive from membership of the EU
Charter rights which are based wholly or largely on “general principles of EU law” will no longer confer an enforceable right (although the Government may reconsider its position on this). This means a loss of enforceable rights such as Article 1 (human dignity)
A number of the Charter rights derive from the ECHR and are incorporated into domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act 1998. Whilst these rights will therefore continue to exist and confer an enforceable right on individuals, the standing is narrower and the remedies are weaker under the HRA compared to the Charter. 
Read the full report (pdf).