London toughens illegal immigration law

The British government introduced an Illegal Immigration Bill on Tuesday (March 7) which plans to prevent migrants arriving through the English Channel from seeking asylum in the UK and deporting them “in a few weeks”a text at the limits of international law by London’s own admission.

“If you arrive irregularly, you cannot apply for asylum. You cannot benefit from our modern slavery protections. You can’t make spurious human rights claims and you can’t stay.” in the UK, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told a press conference. “It’s hard but it’s necessary, and it’s right”he said, pointing out that the number of migrants crossing the Channel had “more than quadrupled in the last two years”despite attempts by successive Conservative governments to curb these crossings.

With over 45,000 arrivals across the Channel last year (mainly Albanians and Afghans but also Iranians, Iraqis and Syrians) and already over 3,000 this year, the UK asylum system is ” outmoded “ according to London.

“Inapplicable and completely inhuman”

“We will detain people who come here illegally and then deport them within weeks”, either in their country or in a country deemed safe like Rwanda, Rishi Sunak said, adding that the government would build new detention centers. He said the law once passed would apply retroactively to March 7.

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“Banning people from seeking asylum is illegal, unenforceable and completely inhumane”, reacted on Twitter the director of Human Rights Watch for the United Kingdom, Yasmine Ahmed. It’s about “a new shocking low blow from the government” Amnesty International said in a statement, accusing the government of using migrants as ” scapegoats “ in the midst of a cost of living crisis and a few months from local elections.

For the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the bill is equivalent to “a ban on asylum”. “The law, if passed, will amount to ending asylum, depriving those who arrive illegally in the UK of the right to seek the protection afforded to a refugee, regardless of the genuineness and urgency of their their request “the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.

On the front page of the bill presented to Parliament, the government admits that it is unable to ensure that the bill “is compatible with the Convention” European human rights. But the government “Nevertheless wishes that the House proceed to the examination of the bill”. The United Kingdom passed a law last year to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda regardless of their origin, but the project remains at a standstill, blocked by European justice.

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The World with AFP


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