In November 2016, our "Proving Torture" report revealed that expert medical evidence of torture is routinely mishandled by the Home Office when considering an asylum claim.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve led a campaign to hold the Home Office accountable for these failings, and protect torture survivors who are being let down by the UK’s asylum system.
We’ve made some huge strides in that time towards meeting this target. By joining our campaign, and sharing your voice with those of survivors, you’ve helped us achieve some crucial victories:
- You contributed a staggering 41,000 signatures to our petition telling the Home Office that we need a fair asylum system, and proper protections for torture survivors
- You helped us convince the House of Commons to hold a debate on the serious issues raised by “Proving Torture”, with a number of MPs on all sides joining our call for torture survivors to get the help they need
- Through your support and pressure, we were able to secure a public commitment from the Immigration Minister that the Home Office will work with us to help survivors:“ I can assure Members that we are committed to getting decisions right the first time and to working with expert organisations such as Freedom from Torture to ensure that survivors of torture get the support they need.”
- You wrote 6,000 messages to your MPs calling for a Home Affairs Committee inquiry, to make sure that the Home Office follow through on their promises. Your message led to 80 MPs writing to the Home Affairs Committee or raising concerns with the Home Secretary or Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis.
- These messages were referenced by the Home Affairs Committee when questioning the Immigration Minister on his department’s treatment of asylum claims involving medical evidence of torture, as evidence of the scale of problems affecting torture survivors. The Immigration Minister stated that he would "urgently" come back with an update on the timetable for rolling out new training materials and the process for monitoring the quality of decision making.
There’s still much more to do, though: in 2018 we’re going to continue our calls for a dedicated Home Affairs Committee inquiry, and work closely with the Home Office to deliver new and improved training for asylum caseworkers.We’re also going to monitor how that training works, and make sure that it results in tangible improvements for torture survivors.
We could not have done this without you. With your continued help, we can build on the success of ‘Proving Torture’, and continue to change the lives of survivors of torture for the better.