Isa Muaza is being held in custody despite being on a 90-day hunger strike

I have raised this issue personally with the Home Secretary, and have applied on three occasions for a chance to debate this in Parliament – unsuccessfully each time. I will keep trying.
Lord Roger Roberts, a Liberal Democrat peer, and I have launched an e-petition on the HM Government website urging Theresa May to intervene and release Mr. Muaza from detention. The e-petition is worded as follows:
We are distressed and saddened to hear that Isa Muaza’s appeal to be released from detention was refused by the Court of Appeal on 25 November 2013. 
Isa Muaza’s condition is critical. He has been on hunger strike in Harmondsworth Detention Centre for over 90 days, and is no longer able to see or stand. We are extremely concerned that Mr Muaza will soon die or suffer permanent damage to his health in detention or during a forced removal from the UK. 
We call on Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to exercise clemency, release him from detention to receive medical treatment to stabilise his condition prior to any removal, so that another death or serious harm in immigration detention or during the removal process may be avoided.
Please can you add your signature to the e-petition and pass it onto friends and family. It is imperative that as many people as possible sign the petition to raise the public profile of the case and raise the pressure on Theresa May to act before it is too late. The URL link is copied in below.

petition calling for those fleeing the practice of FGM are provided with refugee protection in the UK

Please find below a petition calling on the Home Secretary to ensure that those fleeing the practice of FGM in their home countries are provided with sufficient refugee protection in the UK. 
The UK courts have stated that if a woman is at risk from female genital mutilation in one part of her country and it would not be reasonable for her to live in another part of her country, the UK should allow her to live here as a refugee. However, the UKBA is regularly refusing protection to women and girls fleeing FGM by claiming that they are able to live safely in another part of their home country. For many women and girls, this is just not possible.
Two weeks ago, Sue Lloyd Robert’s Newsnight program on FGM ( was re-aired on the BBC. Following the story of a Gambian asylum seeker who is fleeing FGM for herself and her daughter, Lloyd Roberts travels to The Gambia to investigate the validity of the Home Office’s claim that she would be able to live safely in another part of the country. When visiting the asylum seeker’s relatives, it was evident that she would not be safe in another part of the country; internal relocation would not protect this woman and her child from FGM.
This petition calls on the Home Secretary to ensure that women and girls fleeing FGM are provided with sufficient refugee protection in the UK. 
For more information about this campaign, see Sarian Kamara’s blog at British Future ( and this piece on the STAR National website (
Lorna Gledhill
Regional Asylum Activism Co-ordinator for Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Asylum Activism Project

Refugees, Capitalism and the British State: Implications for social workers, volunteers and activists

I’ve been sent a review copy of Tom Vickers book. It’s an academic book and therefore expensively out of the reach of most readers . I’m hoping that by reviewing it I’ll be able to pull out some of the lessons we need to hear as activists and volunteers.

I must admit I started by glancing at the contents and then jumping to the conclusions. I’m an activist rather than an academic so I wanted to know what the implications were and what I needed to do about them.

My first thought was that perhaps  I needed to read the rest of the book. There’s a comment about refugees’ experience of volunteering and how this hasn’t always resulted in beneficial outcomes. Tom also highlights the impact of meeting immediate needs and how this predicates against working on long-term changes. We certainly see that in our work with Leeds Refugee Forum, understandably it is difficult to be concerned about policy and strategy when you don’t know where you are going to sleep.

Tom goes on to suggest that we (refugee support agencies/practitioners) need to help connect refugee causes with other oppressed groups to decrease isolation and increase available resources. I’d also say that this could help to reduce prejudice against asylum seekers.

I’ll get back to the reading the book more fully another day, but already I’m thinking about how we work and whether we are helping asylum seekers and refugees to change the world or simply to cope with being oppressed.

Peter Richardson, Director, LASSN