The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has concluded that the British government’s proposed draft migrant legislation will have the effect of a de facto “asylum ban.”
UNHCR expressed their concern regarding the proposed bill, noting that it would deny those seeking refuge in the UK the right to process their asylum requests. The bill would also lead to detention and deportation without having their cases examined, potentially putting irregular migrants, such as those crossing the English Channel in peril.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that such action would violate the Refugee Convention of 1951, which the United Kingdom is a signatory of. This convention acknowledges that refugees may need to enter a country of asylum through unconventional means. Furthermore, it is a humanitarian tradition which the British people are rightly proud of.
The UNHCR assistant high commissioner for protection, Gillian Triggs, tweeted her profound concern about the UK bill introduced in the House of Commons on Tuesday, in response to the UK government’s figures showing a 60% increase in the number of people crossing the Channel on small boats in 2022; a total of 45,000 people.
According to the UNHCR, the UK is not a signatory to any agreement that would allow authorities to share responsibility for refugees with safe third countries. Furthermore, the UN agency noted that the UK’s bilateral arrangement with Rwanda, announced in 2022, does not adhere to the necessary international standards. In June 2022, the UN high commissioner for refugees indicated that the UK-Rwanda deal is not satisfactory.
UNHCR expressed support for the UK in improving their asylum system, and proposed that the government and legislators review the bill and seek out more compassionate and effective policy solutions.