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Amnesty singles out UK for strong criticism on human rights concerns including refugee bill

March 29, 2022 at 10:31 am

Dominic Raab is seen leaving 10 Downing Street after he was appointed as the new Secretary of State for Justice and Deputy Prime Minister in London, England on 15 September 2021. [Tayfun Salci – Anadolu Agency]

Amnesty International has singled out the UK for strong criticism in its annual survey of human rights, expressing serious concern for a raft of government legislation.

Particularly worrying is the government’s intention to repeal the Human Rights Act, said the human rights watchdog. If successful, this will make it difficult for people to challenge the government and the police.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British bill of rights which he says will clamp down on people who use the media to incite violence.

Amnesty says that the real intention is to slash ordinary people’s right to challenge the government and its decisions.

“Scrapping the Human Rights Act is an act of human rights vandalism that must be countered at all costs,” said Amnesty International’s UK CEO Sacha Deshmukh.

In its annual survey Amnesty criticises the Nationality and Borders bill, which will deprive refugees of the right to seek or be granted asylum in the UK.

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Under the bill British citizens can be stripped of their citizenship without being informed. Amnesty has described the measures as “draconian.”

In January a group of expert immigration lawyers described the bill as “unconstitutional.” It could see over 17,000 women and child refugees, including from the Middle East, prevented from reuniting with their families in the UK over the next five years.

One of the measures in the bill seeks to prevent reunification if someone has travelled through a safe third country before arriving in the UK.

Ukrainian refugees could be among the people criminalised if the bill is pushed through, says the rights watchdog.

“The public’s recent outpouring of support for people fleeing Ukraine adds further emphasis to the need for the government to completely reset its deliberately hostile treatment of people seeking sanctuary in this country,” said Deshmukh.

“The UK can’t credibly champion human rights internationally if it’s busily undermining and unravelling them at home.”