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UK to reject asylum seekers passing through 'safe' third country

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel [John Martin/Facebook]
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel [John Martin/Facebook]

From 1 January, people fleeing war or persecution and claiming asylum in Britain will be accused of a breach of international law if they have passed through a "safe" third country, the Home Office has announced.

Details were published in 10 pages of "New Immigration Rules" on 10 December, reports the Guardian.

According to the report, after the Brexit transition period ends at midnight on 31 December, asylum seekers coming through the EU or a safe country will not be admitted to Britain. The changes will also prevent asylum seekers from being able to make a claim while in British territorial waters.

According to the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, the changes break international law. "The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative government is turning its back on refugees," he explained. "This latest nasty policy from [Home Secretary] Priti Patel goes against our commitments under the refugee convention and against everything the UK stands for. It's yet another breach of international law by this irresponsible Tory government."

READ:Giant puppet to walk 8,000km to highlight plight of child refugees

Britain is party to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and to the 1967 Protocol, a section of international law designed to protect refugees.

Meanwhile, Home Office rules allowing migrants sleeping on the streets to be deported will be enforced next month. However, a growing number of councils, charities and other organisations have pledged to boycott the move to criminalise and deport rough sleepers.

The Greater London Authority, for example, is refusing to cooperate with the Home Office. "The GLA and its commissioned services will not collaborate with such draconian measures," it insisted.

According to the Guardian, the number of small boat migrant arrivals across the English Channel has surged to record levels this year. More than 8,000 migrants and refugees crossed the Dover Strait in 2020, compared with under 2,000 last year.

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