Migrants and Refugees
The United Kingdom parliament has passed a bill inconsistent with the country’s obligations under international human rights and refugee law that could have profound consequences for people seeking international protection, warned the UN rights chief and the head of refugee agency UNHCR on Tuesday.
Concerns over legislation
The Illegal Immigration Bill eliminates access to asylum for anyone who arrives “irregularly” in the UK, meaning they passed through a country – however briefly – where they did not face persecution.
The bill bars migrants from presenting refugee protection or other human rights claims, regardless of their circumstances. It has passed through the Commons, but has yet to clear the Upper House, the House of Lords. The law as it stands requires their removal to another country without a guarantee that they will necessarily be able to access protections there. The bill also creates sweeping new detention powers with limited judicial oversight.
UNHCR shares the UK Government’s concern regarding the number of asylum-seekers resorting to dangerous journeys across the [English] Channel.
“We welcome current efforts to make the existing asylum system work more effectively through fast, fair, and efficient case processing, that allows the integration of those found to be in need of international protection and the swift return home of those who have no legal basis to stay,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.