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If passed, UK asylum Bill 'would amount to asylum ban': UN Refugee Agency

March 7, 2023 at 8:46 pm

Protest against the UK’s plan to send migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda in London, United Kingdom on 13 June 2022 [Raşid Necati Aslım/Anadolu Agency]

If it was passed, the UK asylum legislation “would amount to an asylum ban,” the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday, voicing concern over the matter, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“UNHCR is profoundly concerned by the asylum Bill introduced by the UK Government to the House of Commons today,” the Agency said in a statement. “In its current form, the Bill compels the Home Secretary to deny access to the UK asylum system to those who arrive irregularly.”

The UN Agency warned: “Rather than being provided with protection, these asylum-seekers would, instead, be subject to detention in the UK, while arrangements are pursued to remove them to another country.”

No matter “how genuine and compelling” the UK’s claim may be, the UNHCR said the legislation, if passed, “would amount to an asylum ban – extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly.”

This would be a “clear breach” of the Refugee Convention and “would undermine a longstanding, humanitarian tradition of which the British people are rightly proud,” it added.

READ: UK announces new illegal migrants’ Bill amid concerns over international law violations

The Agency pointed out that most people fleeing war and persecution are simply unable to access the required passports and visas, and there are “no safe and legal” routes available to them.

“We urge the (UK) Government, and all MPs and Peers, to reconsider the Bill and instead pursue more humane and practical policy solutions,” it concluded.

The British government introduced an illegal migration Bill Tuesday that would allow for the detention and swift removal of anyone who enters the UK illegally.

Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, gave a statement to Parliament about the controversial legislation regarding small boats crossing the English Channel and said deterrence is the key theme running through the new measures. Developed countries like the UK will face “unprecedented pressures” in upcoming periods from illegal immigration, she said.