On Tuesday, the Government presented a new bill called the Illegal Migration Bill. It’s centre piece is that any asylum seekers who enter the country illegally will have their claims denied and be ‘removed’ from the UK.
Here is a quote from Sunak’s twitter feed,
If you come to the UK illegally:
➡️ You can’t claim asylum
➡️ You can’t benefit from our modern slavery protections
➡️ You can’t make spurious human rights claims
➡️ You can’t stay pic.twitter.com/026oSvKoJZ
- Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) March 7, 2023
And because Medium doesn’t render attached images from tweets, I have pasted it into this post.
The Bill, unusually, does not come with a certificate that the law complies with the European Convention on Human Rights. A number of organisations, including the United Nations have stated that they consider the Bill to be in breach of international law and the UK’s duties under these laws and treaties to treat asylum seekers fairly and with dignity. We must remember that these people are fleeing threats of death or war. Alasdair McKenzie writes a more detailed review of the Bill as it stands. He says, “It’s extraordinarily authoritarian.” Also, this article at Euractiv also describes the law’s effects, highlighting the provision that negates the defence that one is a victim of modern slavery.
The Bill has passed its first reading, on which it seems there is no vote [ hansard | parliament live ], the BBC report it, saying ‘The United Nations refugee agency has described the moves as “very concerning” and would block even those people with a compelling claim to asylum.’ They also quote Sunak, Braverman and Cooper. This concern, of abrogating the UK’s legal commitments is echoed in the Guardian.
Zoe Gardner highlights the difficulties that such brutal and scofflaw behaviour will have on the EU and the French. Of course, the UK needs the latter’s help to genuinely close down the Calais camps, but leaving the ECHR is not the way to do it and of course the US will be watching closely as to how the UK…