• Let refugee children live safely with their families
    Every child has the right to grow up in a loving family environment. Without family support refugee children risk being exploited and possibly trafficked. So Angus MacNeil MP has brought forward a Private Members’ Bill which would give refugee children the right to be safely reunited with their family in the UK. Refugee children are often fleeing danger, war and political unrest – and laws in our country are only adding to this suffering. The Refugee Family Reunion Bill would help put an end to this – and provide three key things to grant children the right to a happier future. - Give unaccompanied refugee children in the UK the right to sponsor their parents to join them - Extend the age from 18 to 25 for parents to sponsor their children to come to the UK - Reinstate legal aid for refugee family reunion cases This Bill seeks to improve the lot for people who have found themselves in the worst situation possible having fled their homeland as refugees. It has support from members from seven parties – Government and opposition. It is not party political it is a humanitarian issue and would bring the UK into line with a majority of European countries if passed. https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/public38/images/mp.gif
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  • Keep Maryama in Belfast
    Maryama fled war in Somalia in 2004 and claimed asylum in Dublin. After being refused asylum she travelled to Belfast in 2011 from where she has been deported to London and Dublin many times. She cannot return to Somalia as it is personally too dangerous for her. She has been cruelly separated from her nine children for the past fourteen years. It is essential that she stay in the UK as Belfast is her home. We call on the British government to end the inhumane treatment of Maryama.
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  • Police chiefs must genuinely consult campaigners protesting against the onshore oil and gas industry
    The police continually insist they value dialogue with campaigners who oppose plans to drill for oil and gas in local communities. It doesn’t feel that way, however, to people who are taking part in protests against these activities. Instead, they have condemned the way their human rights have been repeatedly trampled on by the police, how concerns raised with senior officers about aggressive policing are ignored and how formal complaints are hurriedly dismissed. Campaigners say officers have pushed them into hedges, violently dragged older people across roads, shoved others into speeding traffic and persistently made arbitrary and incomprehensible arrests.  For eighteen months, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has kept promising to review the direction it gives local forces on the policing of these protests and at last, this now seems imminent. Despite pressure from Netpol, however, the senior officer leading the review has been extremely reluctant to consult directly with campaigners, despite their invaluable first-hand experiences of the way policing operations are conducted. We say: meaningful dialogue and genuine accountability means listening to critical voices. We want Lancashire Assistant Chief Constable Terry Woods - the NPCC Lead on Shale Gas and Oil Exploration - to take consultation seriously and formally invite members of the public to submit their testimony on the policing of local anti-fracking protests. The NPCC then needs to brief all the participants in the consultation on how its national guidance has subsequently been updated and improved.
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  • Tell the Great Exhibition of the North to Refuse BAE sponsorship
    BAE Systems is a 'premier partner' of the Great Exhibition of the North though the charity War Child UK has accused BAE of ‘profiteering from the deaths of innocent children’. British arms companies including BAE have made more than £6bn from sales to Saudi Arabia during the ongoing war in Yemen. International humanitarian law prohibits attacks against civilians yet the British armed Saudi-led coalition has bombed schools, markets, hospitals, and health centres. The conflict has killed or injured more than 5,000 children, while survivors face malnutrition and disease with the collapse of infrastructure. Unicef warns that, ‘nearly every child in Yemen’ is in need of humanitarian assistance. The Great Exhibition of the North claims to offer ‘family-friendly fun’. This is totally at odds with its with association with BAE systems. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/yemen-war-saudi-arabia-human-rights-british-weapons-trade-uk-6bn-war-child-report-crimes-civilians-a7953496.html https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/16/yemen-war-children-dead-injured-malnourished
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  • End the hunger strike of 45 immigrants detained indefinitely at Yarl's Wood
    It is inhumane to imprison people indefinitely, without being convicted of a crime, often with no legal representation. As one of the detainees has said "We want the Home Office to listen to us and stop the injustice of indefinite detention..It is the uncertainty that is most difficult, I can deal with imprisonment if I know my sentence. But here, there’s no criminal record, and no clarity about what's going to happen to me. It's a pain that we all bear on a daily basis." (Al Jazeera 28.2.18 - https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/women-detained-yarl-wood-hunger-strike-180228195926024.html)
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  • Remove Anti-Homeless Benches from Southampton City
    Introducing anti-homeless benches is not going to solve homelessness in Southampton. The council have a responsibility to support people living on the streets by providing shelters. Instead they are making it harder for those without a roof over there head to get by. Benches can provide a place to sleep that is off the ground and dryer than the floor, and sleeping in the town centre is often safer for people sleeping rough, due to CCTV. Hiding societies problems does not solve them. We want Southampton council to act now!
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  • Grant demands of #HUNGERFORFREEDOM Yarl’s Wood Strikers
    Detention is an inhumane and unfair system that tears families and communities apart. Right now, people can be held indefinitely with no release date and can wait for months or even years for a decision. It destroys people's lives - people are forced to put their lives on hold, and the uncertainty of when they might get out makes it incredibly tough to get through each day. This is part of the government's attempts to create a "hostile environment" for undocumented people, refugees and immigrants in the UK. So people in Yarl's Wood are on hunger (and labour) strike to push for their demands.
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  • Close down HMP Liverpool with immediate effect to stop Human Rights Abuses!
    Prison leaders, from local to national, presided over an “abject failure” to provide a safe, decent and purposeful regime at HMP Liverpool, according to Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. In a report outlining jail conditions that experienced inspectors regarded as the worst they could remember, Mr Clarke said it was “hard to understand how the leadership of the prison could have allowed the situation to deteriorate to this extent.” Inspectors found squalid living conditions, with dirt, litter, rats and cockroaches, and an environment in which drugs were easily available and violence had increased. Mr Clarke added: “While much of what we found was clearly the responsibility of local prison managers, there had been a broader organisational failure. We saw clear evidence that local prison managers had sought help from regional and national management to improve conditions they knew to be unacceptable long before our arrival, but the resulting support was inadequate and had made little impact on outcomes for prisoners.” HMP Liverpool is a local category B prison serving the Merseyside area. A traditional local jail with “a very strong sense of local identity”, it held 1,115 men at the time of the unannounced inspection in September 2017. It was last inspected in May 2015. Since then, the prison had deteriorated in terms of respect and purposeful activity and these elements were poor, the lowest possible assessment, in 2017. Safety and resettlement work, the two other key inspection tests, were judged as ‘not sufficiently good.’ However, Mr Clarke said, the bare statistics “do not adequately describe the abject failure of HMP Liverpool to offer a safe, decent and purposeful environment.” He identified key issues: Violence of all kinds had increased. Over a third of prisoners felt unsafe at the time of the inspection, and 71% felt unsafe at some time. Nearly two-thirds of prisoners said it was easy or very easy to obtain drugs. Drones carrying drugs and other illicit items were a substantial problem. Staff had recovered 32 drones in the six months before the inspection, more than one a week. Half of the prisoners were locked in their cells during the working day. There were also significant failings in the leadership and management of activities and in health care. There was a backlog of some 2,000 maintenance tasks and it was clear that facilities management at the prison “was in a parlous state.” Mr Clarke added: “The inspection team was highly experienced and could not recall having seen worse living conditions than those at HMP Liverpool. “Many cells were not fit to be used and should have been decommissioned. Some had emergency call bells that were not working but were nevertheless still occupied, presenting an obvious danger to prisoners. There were hundreds of unrepaired broken windows, with jagged glass left in the frames. Many lavatories were filthy, blocked or leaking. There were infestations of cockroaches in some areas, broken furniture, graffiti, damp and dirt. “I saw piles of rubbish that had clearly been there for a long time, and in which inspectors reported seeing rats on a regular basis. I was told by a senior member of staff that it had not been cleared by prisoners employed as cleaning orderlies because it presented a health and safety risk. It was so bad that external contractors were to be brought in to deal with it. In other words, this part of the jail had become so dirty, infested and hazardous to health that it could not be cleaned.” Mr Clarke was particularly troubled by the case of one vulnerable man with complex mental health needs being held in a cell that had no furniture other than a bed. “The windows of both the cell and the toilet recess were broken, the light fitting in his toilet was broken with wires exposed, the lavatory was filthy and appeared to be blocked, his sink was leaking and the cell was dark and damp. “Extraordinarily, this man had apparently been held in this condition for some weeks…It should not have needed my personal intervention for this man to be moved from such appalling conditions.” Inspectors could see “no credible plan” to address these basic problems. Mr Clarke said: “Although there are several change projects underway at the prison, none of these will address the basic failings that were so painfully obvious at HMP Liverpool. I was particularly concerned that there did not appear to be effective leadership or sufficiently rigorous external oversight to drive the prison forward in a meaningful way. This report makes it crystal clear that leaders at all levels, both within the prison and beyond, had presided over the failure to address the concerns raised at the last inspection.” Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service, said: “The conditions which Inspectors found at Liverpool were unacceptable and effective measures should have been taken to deal with the issues at a much earlier stage. We are committed to fixing this, have already made changes where we can, and have today published a comprehensive action plan to address the Chief Inspector’s concerns.Following the Inspection we took immediate action to rectify the situation. A new Governor has been appointed and a strengthened management team is in place; capacity has been reduced by 172 places; over 700 prisoners now have a named Prison Officer as their ‘Key Worker’; cleanliness has been improved and the maintenance backlog has been almost halved. Liverpool has a dedicated staff who are committed to providing a safe and decent environment for prisoners. The Governor will get the support she needs to deliver the action plan and make the changes necessary to substantially improve the performance and conditions at the prison.”
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  • Increase resources and funding to mental health in Northern Ireland and tackle suicide rates
    Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rates in the UK but 25% less funding. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/northern-ireland-has-highest-rate-of-suicide-in-the-uk-but-mental-health-funding-is-25-less-36418579.html In fact, in a recent study of suicide rates and reported on by the Guardian (link below) Northern Ireland has had more suicides in the 20 years since the Good Friday agreement in 1998 than in 28 years during the troubles from 1969 - 1997. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/20/northern-ireland-suicides-troubles-death-toll We the undersigned find this situation cruel and unacceptable and it has to change. Since Northern Ireland is receiving an extra £1bn in funding we demand that...... 1. The Department of Health commit to an increase of funding to mental health services of at least 10% from the £1bn extra funding for Northern Ireland secured by the DUP after the last General election. 2. The current £7m per year allocated to suicide prevention through the Public Health Agency be increased to £21m per year from the £1bn extra funding for Northern Ireland secured by the DUP after the last General election. 3. An effective, sustainable and long-term suicide prevention campaign to begin at the earliest opportunity
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  • Rescind the Governing Body Decision to downgrade Corby Urgent Care Centre
    If this erroneous decision is not rescinded then it would create a two tier urgent care system that would exclude, workers, visitors and those that participate in the full range of sporting fixtures that happen in the area from accessing and using the urgent care centre: putting untold pressure on KGH A&E and the East Midlands Ambulance Service.
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  • Stop on-the-spot fingerprint scanning
    The Home Office quietly announced, without debate in Parliament, that West Yorkshire Police will be rolling out on-the-spot fingerprint scanning on 10th Feb 2018. The checks will include UK Border Agency and Criminal Records databases. Over 30yrs ago I was fined for a minor offence and my fingerprints were recorded at the time. If I were to encounter a stop-and-scan check whilst with my boss or an important customer, they would be able to tell instantly that I had a criminal record, and even if I wasn't fired I'd be looked at unfairly for promotion. Worse still, with UK Border Agency database checks, we know that the Police will disproportionately target ethnic minorities. We have seen how incompetent the UKBA are at dealing with EU applications for permanent residency, and you can be sure that many legal EU citizens will be falsely arrested during these stops. PACE (the Police and Criminal Evidence Act) s61 currently states that the Police can only take your fingerprints without consent after you've been arrested or you're caught red-handed. However, by virtue of having these scanners the Police will intimidate people into giving consent. Please sign the petition to stop this unfair system, which hasn't even been agreed to by Parliament. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/police-trial-new-home-office-mobile-fingerprint-technology https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/61
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  • Scrap Public Space Protection Orders that target rough sleepers in Gloucester
    We were all disgusted when Gloucester City Council put up these posters in Gloucester suggesting people should not give to those sleeping rough on the streets and suggesting they have accommodation. The posters were clearly a 'prelude' to the introduction of Public Space Protection Orders in Gloucester (PSPO's). In other parts of the country, these are being used to 'socially cleanse' cities and towns of rough sleepers so that they are essentially 'banned' from certain areas. Rough sleepers can also face fines if found in these areas. PSPO's give councils the power to remove people for non criminal behavior and the latest Home office advice (December 2017) states that PSPO's should not be used to target rough sleepers. This is a cruel and ill thought out approach to solving homelessness in Gloucester . In Gloucester many vulnerable people have no accommodation and due to 'ideological' cuts to funding, they have little, if any support when they're on the streets. By introducing PSPO's, the council will only move the problem, but not solve it. What's more, the most obvious solution would be for Gloucester City Council to open more shelters and open buildings that they already own for the homeless as there is nowhere near enough accommodation available in Gloucester.
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