Patel’s anti refugee bill

6 July 2021

With the “Nationality and Borders Bill” the UK is torching its international human rights obligations under the 1951 refugee convention. We are in danger of committing crimes against humanity by turning back those in need of safety and treating them as criminals. History will shame us.

Human beings will be judged by how they entered the UK, rather than the dangers they face from countries they fled.

The plans for the removal of asylum seekers to off shore asylum processing centres in the Ascension islands, disused ferries and abandoned oil rigs will mean men, women and children being left in limbo for years, out of sight and out of mind.

Any human rights abuses committed against genuine refugees will be hidden from public scrutiny; more will self-harm or attempt suicide as they are detained long term; and many more refugees will drown on British shores trying to get here.

The human smugglers only “flourish” because Europe is blocking centuries old migration routes and making crossings ever more dangerous. Harsher sentences will not stop human smuggling, the provision of safe routes will.

This bill means that 9,000 people who would be accepted as refugees under current rules – those confirmed to have fled war or persecution by official checks – may no longer be given safety in the UK due to their method of arrival. For decades people have taken “extraordinary measures to flee oppression but went on to become law-abiding citizens paying their taxes.

The broken asylum system has nothing to do with asylum seekers and everything to do with years of neglect by Ministers of Home Office systems and processes.

This in turn has led to delays for months and years for those seeking asylum from countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, all countries with known records of human rights abuses and persecution.

The Home Office contractors bidding to run these offshore processing centres will be rubbing their hands in glee at the billions coming their way.

Of course, the UK doesn’t actually have a refugee “problem” – the numbers coming in each year are low (one third of the numbers in 2003) and falling – not rising. And most of the “migrants” who “knowingly” arrive in the U.K. “without permission” are genuine refugees according to the Home Office’s own statistics.

While many people seeking asylum arrive by plane, focusing on asylum seekers entering the UK by boat is misleading. Further, portraying them as shore invaders is manipulation meant to make people perceive all foreigners as threats, and prepare for the abandonment of basic principles that the UK so proudly called its contribution to the world.

Refugees are the mere scapegoat for Patel’s political ambitions. The Home Secretary wants to look “tough” on “migrants”.

In essence the new Borders Bill is an anti refugee bill that will cause misery to thousands of people and pointless billions to administer . This will be Priti Patel’s toxic legacy as home secretary, herself the child of immigrants: the further embedding of a racist, hostile, xenophobic environment into British society.

Robina Qureshi


Read more:
The Nationality and Borders Bill 2021: first impressions
Priti Patel to reveal proposals for offshore centres for asylum seekers

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