The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that allowed two prolific serious Somali criminals to remain in the UK for fear of the breach of their Article 3 rights if sent back to war torn Mogadishu was predictable. This overturned the British Asylum and Immigration Tribunals decision that although a return to Mogadishu would and could expose deportees to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as persecution, those with connections to the powerful people in Mogadishu might be able to live there safely. Despite the tough on foreign criminal’s stance the British government has adopted, the reality is that their policies are always subject to a compatibility test with European Union law of which the European Convention on Human Rights 1998 is one of. It is so important that if any member States policies do not comply they can be expelled from the Union after a period of financial penalization.
The greatest advantage of the Big Society agenda is that the third sector is recognised for its valuable role within the policy process and now is more politically favoured by the current administration which gives them legitimacy and bargaining powers which they did not have before. Now instead of third sector groups justifying their roles and funding requests to the Local Authorities which administered and commissioned services, the Local Authorities have to almost justify why it should stay in house.
The fact is that more Somali businesses fail than succeed in the UK and the reasons for this are many. Among the most important are poor business planning, lack of finance, poor management and poor choice of business location.
Bristol City, like every other major city in the UK with a Muslim population, has received funding as part of the Prevent strategy to tackle and deter extremism. However, despite all the criticism that has been levelled at Prevent, the way in which it has been implemented and continues to be managed in Bristol is a good example of how it ought to have been done everywhere else in Britain. The Bristol approach has been successful primarily because the local Muslim communities were engaged from the start and the Prevent strategy was renamed Building the Bridge which most Muslims felt was more appropriate. This sensible, sensitive and human approach coupled with key employees, partners and Board members of Building the Bridge been Muslims themselves and Bristol community members, ensured that the strategy worked better than in most other UK cities.
The importance of education is not lost on Somali parents as they like any other group of parents would like to see their children succeed academically and professionally. During many community meetings around the UK, Somali parents have expressed their desire to see themselves and their children succeed in the UK through the attainment of educational qualifications and professional employment. They also made it clear that they want to integrate into wider society in order to provide their children with the best possible opportunities that this country has to offer. However, most of the Somali parents feel that some in school and wider social factors are hampering their children from succeeding academically.
In school factors are factors that are directly related to the schools and which takes place within the schools themselves. Among the most complained of in school issues are a lack of leadership, poor teaching standards, lack of permanent teachers, low teacher expectations and in some extreme cases, institutional racism.
Mental health issues are more prevalent in some groups than others and members of these groups tend to be the most vulnerable in society. These include the homeless, those from ethnic minority backgrounds, the disabled and those subject to immigration control or who are seeking asylum in the UK.
Many Somalis in the UK suffer from mental illness and need support, advice and guidance in order to recover from it.