HHCC statement on the UK Government’s new Illegal Migration Bill

Dr Michelle Lokot and Dr Neha Singh, Co-Directors of the Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre (HHCC), condemn the new Illegal Migration Bill announced by the UK Government.
HHCC Statement on Illegal Migration Bill

We are deeply concerned about the devastating impact this Bill will have on the health and wellbeing of people fleeing war, persecution and other humanitarian crises. This Bill is in direct contravention of the United Kingdom’s legal obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Bill is based on the premise that people should claim asylum in the “first safe country” they arrive in. However, there is no such requirement under international law. Protections under the Refugee Convention do not vary according to the route of travel, choice of country of asylum or the timing of a claim. Passing this Bill would amount to the UK government saying that an Afghan refugee is less deserving of asylum when their claim is made in the UK than when the same person makes their claim in Pakistan or Iran. This Bill will result in asylum seekers being detained in the UK and may prevent their cases from being heard.

Without a doubt, this Bill will significantly impact humanitarian protection that the UK is legally obligated to provide. It ignores the fact that people arriving in the UK are fleeing war, persecution and other humanitarian crises. We demand that the UK government put a stop to this Bill, and instead focus on providing safe, humane and legal routes to claiming asylum.


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