Saturday 11 March 2023

Is Government asylum policy "fair and right"?

 So Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has broken the ministerial silence since the BBC asked Gary Lineker to step back from presenting Match of the Day. In doing so he says that Linker "was a great footballer and is a talented presenter" before going on to say that that he believes that the government's policy is "fair and right?

The question though should be is it?

Firstly we need to rebuff the phrase branded about claiming there are illegal asylum seekers. The Refugee Council point out:

There is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ or ‘bogus’ asylum seeker. Under international law, anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim

The UK is a signatory of that Convention. This is the Convention was actually in part drafted by Winston Churchill. It is also something that is enshrined into the European Convention on Human Rights. It was the ECHR that when presenting her policy to the House of Commons the Home Secretary Suella Braverman wrote:

I am unable to make a statement that, in my view, the provisions of the Illegal Migrants Bill are compatible with the Convention rights, but the Government nevertheless wishes the House to proceed to the Bill.

Herein lies problem number one. We are already calling those that arrive my small boats Illegal Migrants, see the Refugee Council above. But also this Government knowingly wants to proceed when it could break a Convention drafted with British input. 

Maybe we can rule out that the Bill is going to be right on that basis.

As for is it fair, we need to look at how anyone claim asylum in the UK under the Bill. Let us return to the Refugee Council.

It is recognised in the 1951 Convention that people fleeing persecution may have to use irregular means in order to escape and claim asylum in another country – there is no legal way to travel to the UK for the specific purpose of seeking asylum.
Yet the Government are saying that the provisions of the Bill will not affect people who seek a legal route into the UK to claim asylum, such routes do not exist.

The Bill also aims to detain those that reach these shores by small boat without trial, without access to a lawyer for the first 28 days, or the courts, and then deport them, with no legal right to appeal and to be barred for ever from entering the UK.
However, arbitrarily depriving an individual of their liberty is prohibited under international human rights law. Article 9 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights decrees that "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile"; that is, no individual, regardless of circumstances, is to be deprived of their liberty or exiled from their country without having first committed an actual criminal offense against a legal statute, and the government cannot deprive an individual of their liberty without proper due process of law.  

So not looking very fair or very right. Also, before I get apologists saying but these are all international treatings and conventions remember one thing. In the shadow of World War II it was Britain that was at the forefront of drafting and writing the conventions and treaties that are mentioned here. This was done to prevent a nation treating other humans in a lesser way. At the moment the UK Government is steering us into a clear breach of so much international convention we are heading to being a pariah state on a par with Russia, North Korea et al.

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