So far during the Stop Removals to Somalia Campaign we have seen individuals successfully have tickets to Mogadishu cancelled and be released from immigration detention. HOWEVER, as of the 3rd of May we are now aware of an individual who has confirmed he has been forcibly removed to Mogadishu. Contact with this individual is now lost.
It was reported that upon his return Somalian Immigration Officials asked him whether he was coming voluntarily. When he answered ‘No’ they did not believe him. They informed him they had paperwork to show that his return was voluntary and not forced. He became desperate and continued to say that this was not the case, saying ‘No, no, no, no, no’ but he was not believed. He was told by these officials that 31 individuals voluntarily from the UK just like him and that it was planned that 3,000 more were to follow.
This news is extremely concerning. It suggests that there is some arrangement of the return of thousands of Somalian nationals from the UK to Mogadishu, Somalia. What is even more concerning is that fact that these seem to be designed to look as though they are voluntary returns and not forced removals.
A key reason that removals to Somalia have become straightforward is because the Operational Guidance Notes for Somalia used by UK Immigration Officials when deciding cases has been updated and includes the following:
New Country Guidance Notes produced by UK Home Office 9 April 2014
”There have been improvements in the situation in Mogadishu
since the withdrawal of Al Shabab in August 2011. In these
changed circumstances, conditions in Mogadishu no longer
present a general risk from indiscriminate violence such that
removal would be a breach of Article 15(c) of the Qualification
Directive or Article 3 ECHR. A person may nevertheless face a
real risk of harm because of their individual circumstances and, if
so, may qualify for Humanitarian Protection.
In areas of south and central Somalia outside of Mogadishu the
general conditions do not present a risk from indiscriminate
violence such that removal would be a breach of Article 15(c) of
the Qualification Directive or Article 3 ECHR. A person may
nevertheless face a real risk of harm because of their individual
circumstances and, if so, may qualify for Humanitarian
Those returning to, or travelling through, areas in south and
central Somalia outside of Mogadishu may, nevertheless, face a
real risk of harm because of their individual circumstances,
particularly those with no recent experience of living in Somalia
who will be at real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to
Article 3 ECHR, if they are returning to live in, or travel through,
an Al Shabab controlled area. They may be at risk of persecution
because of actual or imputed religious or political opinion and
may qualify as a refugee.”
For the full document see here country guidance somalia 2014
We will be trying to keep updated on this situation. For all Somalian Nationals that have had their immigration cases (likely to be largely asylum cases) this means that it is very important to be gathering evidence to put in fresh claims. It is key to make sure you are aware of the status of your case, make contact with your lawyers to check this and become familiar with your immigration case. Put in fresh representations if necessary as RETURNS TO SOMALIA ARE DEFINITELY UNDERWAY.
We are urgently calling for Somalian Organisations to join this cause. Removals to Somalia need to be STOPPED. It is simply not safe for people to be forced to return and legal avenues for challenging removals seem to be running out. MPs need to be contacted and made aware of the situation and the Somali communities across the UK also.
The last lawyer our organisation had contact with about this issue said that despite objective evidence there is presently ‘no barriers to removal’. Canada is not removing individuals to Somalia, and the United Nations has called for an end to removals to Somalia yet the UK is not following this advisement.
ACTION IS NEEDED. We can work together to publicise this treatment of Somalians in the UK, most of whom have sought sanctuary due to terrorism, political instability and war.
Please contact the Stop Removals to Somalia campaign via firstname.lastname@example.org
The Unity Centre
30 Ibrox St
Glasgow G51 1AQ
0141 427 7992