Asylum Matters along with more than 240 organisations have today pledged to defend the right to claim asylum in the UK and challenge the UK Government’s hostile new laws which make it far harder to claim asylum in the UK.
The anti-refugee Nationality and Borders Bill completed its passage through both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, 27 April, a dark day on which our refugee protection system becomes a system of punishment for those seeking safety on our shores.
The new Act legalises offshore processing and the creation of warehouse-style reception centres on UK soil, rips up internationally recognised rights for people fleeing war and persecution, and will criminalise thousands of refugees.
The new laws will be costly to implement and ineffective – creating ever-longer backlogs and delays in the asylum process that will leave people facing homelessness and destitution, and living in limbo for longer.
Rather than breaking the business model of people smugglers, the new Act will leave people vulnerable to exploitation and reliant upon criminal gangs in order to reach safety.
Missing from the legislation was any attempt by the Government to introduce new routes for people fleeing war and persecution to claim asylum in the UK, such as a long-term and ambitious commitment to refugee resettlement or expanded family reunion schemes.
We believe that people seeking protection from war and persecution should be welcomed and that everyone’s claim for asylum should be treated equally and fairly, and that the UK must offer sanctuary to those who need it.
So today, alongside and in partnership with hundreds of others of organisations, we have pledged to:
- Defend the right to seek safety from war and persecution in the UK;
- Speak out against attempts to make it harder to be recognised as a refugee or criminalise and punish those who make their own way to safety;
- Challenge the anti-refugee laws which will risk the lives and well-being of people;
- Work towards a refugee protection system that treats all people with dignity and compassion.
Your organisation can sign the pledge here.
We will continue fighting these anti-refugee laws with our partners within and beyond the refugee and migration sector across the country, and the people affected by them; and we won’t rest until these damaging measures are overturned.