All posts by mmillard

The Government’s Rhetoric About Bogus Refugees is Bogus

Nice blog on cuts to refugee health care by Alex Neve (Amnesty International Canada). Particularly like the section about using the term “bogus”:

Since it has no real meaning, what does the Minister mean when he uses it? Refugee claimants the government doesn’t like? Coming from countries the Minister wishes they wouldn’t leave? Whose claims get rejected?  Rejected on what basis? Because they weren’t believed? Because their problems, though genuine, don’t fit the legal technicalities of the refugee definition?  Because a decision-maker was not prepared to agree that human rights problems are real and serious in their country? Because they are a war criminal and thus, while having a valid fear of persecution, are not eligible for refugee status? Because conditions back home have changed since they left? Or because they couldn’t come up with enough documents to prove their story?


– a poem by Fady Joudah

My daughter

wouldn’t hurt a spider

That had nested
Between her bicycle handles
For two weeks
She waited
Until it left of its own accord

If you tear down the web I said
It will simply know
This isn’t a place to call home
And you’d get to go biking

She said that’s how others
Become refugees isn’t it?

–from “Alight” by Fady Joudah (2013)

(find it on Amazon:

About the poet:

Canadian Refugee Hearing May 13th, 2013- Urgently need a Gambia Expert

Please see request below. If you are able to respond, please contact Ana Teresa Rico directly at


 I am looking for an expert on Gambia country conditions. I have a refugee hearing on May 13th, 2013, and all supporting documentation must be in by May 2nd, 2013. 

Background Facts of the Case: 
My client was tortured for three weeks at a military barracks by what he called the Paramilitary. I have tried looking for information about the Paramilitary, but am unable to find anything. I did find some things about the Paramilitary Wing of the Police force in Gambia. My client is illiterate and has limited primary education. I believe he may have confused as to what type of military/paramilitary force captured him. He has the scars of torture throughout his body, but I am worried that he may be found not credible if I am unable to find any sources on the paramilitary in Gambia. I thought speaking to someone who knows about Gambia may assist me in finding sources, and figuring out if my client is confused as to what group captured him. Or possibly paramilitary is the nick-name given to a security force within Gambia. 

Anyway, any guidance or help you can provide in this area would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Ana Teresa Rico

Urgent Appeal: Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) – Egypt

AMERA is a human rights organization that provides free legal, social and mental health services to the hundreds of thousands of refugees in Egypt. For the last ten years, AMERA has tirelessly served people who have fled their home countries due to persecution, conflict, torture, trafficking, violence and terror. We work with refugees (mostly from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea) to rebuild their lives and provide safety to their families. If you would like to know more about our work, please go to:

TODAY, AMERA is threatened with imminent closure due to a lack of funding. Without us, thousands of refugees will be left without access to essential services that protect their rights.

Founded in 2003, AMERA continues to be the first and only organization in Egypt to provide legal, social and mental health services to refugees under one roof. This holistic approach, coupled with the collective expertise of our staff, enables us to quickly identify individual and community needs. In this way, we provide essential services in a safe space, treating refugees with dignity and respect.

AMERA is the ONLY organization in Egypt that offers:

. Legal advice and representation before the UNHCR, increasing their chances of protection from return to their home countries
. Direct resettlement referrals to foreign embassies for the most vulnerable refugees in Egypt
. Specialized assistance for children who have fled persecution without their parents, including victims of trafficking, who rely on AMERA for access to protection, education, healthcare and other basic services
. Advocacy for refugees in indefinite and arbitrary detention
. Community outreach programs, headed by refugee staff, to raise awareness and empower refugee communities, pioneering an emergency outreach response to the massive Syrian refugee influx since 2012
. A dedicated team working with survivors of sexual and gender based violence to help them access a full spectrum of medical, social, legal, and psychological services

AMERA in Numbers

1537 refugees provided with services in the last two months
3400+ refugees provided with community outreach services in the last 12 months, of whom 1200 are Syrians
15% of our clients are under 21 years old (not including family dependents), half are women
30% are survivors of torture
72% of our clients receive more

AMERA helps the survivors of Sinai’s ‘torture camps’: Every year, hundreds of refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia are trafficked to the Sinai region of Egypt. There, they are held in ‘torture camps’ and subjected to horrific physical, sexual and psychological torture in order to extort money from their families in their home country and abroad. In the past 12 months AMERA has provided advice, representation and care to over 100 survivors of Sinai’s torture camps. For more information on this practice see a BBC World Service program, ‘Escape from Sinai’ (

We are in URGENT need of immediate funding to continue serving our clients.
For every £2.25 donated, staffing costs are covered for each refugee provided with psychosocial support.
For every £2 donated, staffing costs are covered for each refugee accessing legal services.*
Any size donation will make a difference to a life today!

You can make a donation towards the work of AMERA Egypt by giving to AMERA UK, a registered UK charity (Charity Number: 1098788, Company Ltd by Guarantee: 4644642)
Please donate with JustGiving or PayPal by clicking the link below:

From the UK: you can also donate to AMERA by texting AMER01£ (and the amount you wish to donate) to 70070
If you are a UK Tax Payer, please visit our website to learn about maximizing your gift at no additional cost.
If you would like to make a donation of £1,000 or more, we’d be happy to discuss with you the intended focus of your donation. Please feel free to contact us at

Thank you,

Requests for info: do you have experience of reintegration programming with children who have become separated from their families and communities?

The Centre for Rural Childhood, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Scotland is developing a toolkit to help organisations monitor and evaluate reintegration programmes for children. This project is funded by the Oak Foundation and is part of a larger project on recovery and reintegration ( This work is being supported by an inter-agency steering group including representatives from EveryChild, Save the Children, Mkombozi and IOM.  
If you or your organisation has experience of reintegration programming with children who have become separated from their families and communities, please help us by answering our short questionnaire. The responses to this questionnaire will provide information that will contribute to the development of the toolkit.

The questionnaire should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.

The questionnaire can be accessed here  and will close on the 29th April.
Please feel free to circulate this information to others who may be involved in reintegration programming or have experience of evaluating such programmes.

Claire Cody

Requests for info: Searching for CAT decisions / jurisprudence

From: Chris Strawn <>

I was wondering if anyone might be able to point me in the direction of an easily searchable database for UN CAT jurisprudence, if one exists? I’m talking at the national AILA conference (American Immigration Lawyers Association) about CAT claims in the U.S., and while this is mainly focused on U.S. law, I’d like to point people to international materials. As far as I can tell, there is no easily searchable database for CAT jurisprudence (like westlaw or lexis for those of us in the U.S.). Below is a basic set of links I’m planning to give to attendees, and I’d be happy to include any other materials that are useful. Thanks for any suggestions.

Select international materials on CAT

Books, treatises, and guides

Manfred Nowak and Elizabeth McArthur, The United Nations Convention Against Torture: A Commentary (2008)

J. Herman Burgers & Hans Danelius, The United Nations Convention Against Torture: A Handbook on the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or PUnishment (1988).

Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Torture in International Law, a guide to jurisprudence (2008)

Finding UN CAT materials: country reports and individual complaints under Art 22 of the CAT (jurisprudence)

UN Committee Against Torture (starting place for reports and publications)

Special Rapporteur on Torture (useful for country reports)

Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (useful for country reports)

Finding jurisprudence
(recent decisions – decent descriptions)
(poor search but should be comprehensive)
(UNHCR database, individual complaints generally up to 2011- good for country research as well)
(Individual complaints to 2011)

(Individual complaints to 2009)
(private site on UN decisions and reports)

Request for information: Inter-agency research on reintegration

The Inter-agency Group on Children’s Reintegration is currently carrying out desk based research on reintegration.  The group is headed by Family for Every Child and others members include representatives from BCN, UNICEF, USAID, the CPC Learning Network, World Vision, IRC, UHI Centre for Rural Childhood, Save the Children and Maestral International. 

We are seeking published and unpublished research reports on reintegration or evaluations of reintegration interventions spanning the full range of separated children, including those affected by emergencies, in alternative care, and trafficked/ migrant children. 

We are also requesting practitioners to complete a short survey on reintegration to complement this literature review.  The survey should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete.   It aims to: identify commonalities and differences in reintegration programming for children in different contexts; draw out unpublished literature; identify major areas of concern for those working to improve practice in reintegration, and identify potential participants for key informant interviews. 

Please send all relevant literature by 15thof March to:

Please complete the survey by 15th of March following this link:
Emily Delap
Head of Policy
Family for Every Child

Harvard and M.I.T. Team Up to Offer Free Online Courses

In what is shaping up as an academic Battle of the Titans — one that offers vast new learning opportunities for students around the world — Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Wednesday announced a new nonprofit partnership, known as edX, to offer free online courses from both universities.

View the full article here: