UK 'asylum ban' draft bill undermines Refugee Convention: UN
The UN Refugee Agency slams the UK 'asylum ban' bill and urges London to seek "more humane" solutions.
The UN refugee agency urged for a rather "more humane" solution as it warned that the UK draft law banning migrants entering illegally on small boats amounts to an asylum ban.
The agency stated that it was "profoundly concerned" by proposals that would impose a new legal obligation on the British Interior Minister to deport all migrants who have entered the country illegally, such as those who cross the Channel from France in inflatable boats.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement, "The legislation, if passed, would amount to an asylum ban -- extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how genuine and compelling their claim may be, and with no consideration of their individual circumstances."
According to the bill, asylum-seekers would be denied safety, which is "a clear breach of the Refugee Convention," adding that the bill would also "deny them the opportunity to put forward their case."
The statement further noted that the majority of those fleeing conflict zones or persecution "are simply unable to access the required passports and visas," thus "there are no safe and 'legal' routes available to them."
And denying these people asylum for the lack of bureaucratic requirements "undermines the very purpose for which the Refugee Convention was established."
According to the most recent data from the British Interior Ministry, the great majority of people who arrive in Britain by small boats across the English Channel would be approved as refugees if their applications are evaluated, the statement said.
"Branding refugees as undeserving based on mode of arrival distorts these fundamental facts," it said.
UNHCR said it had offered London strong, practical suggestions for rapid, fair, and efficient case processing and would work with Britain to create safe, regular paths for refugees to enter the UK but warned that they were limited and "can never replace for access to asylum".
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