UK passes migration bill, UN says violates international law
The UN refugee and human rights agencies, UNHCR and OHCHR, issue a warning that the new UK bill violates international law and will jeopardize the lives of those in need.
The UK parliament confirmed on Tuesday that the migration bill, described by many as "illegal", has passed parliament after the House of Commons rejected the amendments proposed by the House of Lords.
"The Illegal Migration Bill completes passage through Parliament as both Houses agree on the text of the bill," the statement read, adding that the bill is pending the final step of Royal Assent when it will be ratified into law.
The bill aims to deport migrants who enter illegally into the UK by boats across the English Channel to a third country like Rwanda. The matter was transferred to the Supreme Court after the UK Court of Appeal ruled that the bill was illegal.
In response, the UN refugee and human rights agencies, UNHCR and OHCHR, issued a warning that the bill violates international law and will jeopardize the lives of those in need.
The bill prohibits presenting refugee protection or other human rights claims, regardless of circumstance, and requires their removal to a third country with no guarantee of any protection there.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said, “For decades, the UK has provided refuge to those in need, in line with its international obligations – a tradition of which it has been rightly proud,”, adding: “This new legislation significantly erodes the legal framework that has protected so many, exposing refugees to grave risks in breach of international law.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said the bill “sets a worrying precedent for dismantling asylum-related obligations that other countries, including in Europe, may be tempted to follow, with a potentially adverse effect on the international refugee and human rights protection system as a whole.”
“Carrying out removals under these circumstances is contrary to prohibitions of refoulement and collective expulsions, rights to due process, to family and private life, and the principle of best interests of children concerned,” said Turk.
According to UK government numbers released last month, the number of persons coming to the UK in small boats has surpassed 10,000 since the beginning of the year.
Rwanda announced that it has the capacity to process only 1,000 asylum seekers over the first five years, which raises concerns regarding the practicality of the bill.