The United Nations’ refugee agency has urged MPs and peers to block Rishi Sunak’s “profoundly” concerning plan to tackle small boat crossings.
The UNHCR said the Illegal Migration Bill amounted to an “asylum ban” which would prevent people fleeing war and persecution from seeking refuge in the UK.
“We urge the Government, and all MPs and peers, to reconsider the Bill and instead pursue more humane and practical policy solutions,” the agency said.
The legislation “would be a clear breach of the Refugee Convention and would undermine a longstanding, humanitarian tradition of which the British people are rightly proud”, the UN agency said.
The Government’s approach, outlined by Home Secretary Suella Braverman in Parliament on Tuesday, has been widely condemned by charities and human rights organisations.
The equalities watchdog questioned the approach being adopted, saying it risks “undermining the core principle of the universality of human rights”.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission added: “We welcome the Government’s intention to remain within the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
“We are nonetheless concerned that the legislation risks breaching the UK’s legal obligations under the Refugee Convention and ECHR.”
The plan is simply “not the British way of doing things”, the Refugee Council said.
Its chief executive Enver Solomon suggested the plans were “more akin to authoritarian nations” such as Russia and insisted the proposals would not stop desperate people crossing in small boats but would instead leave “traumatised people locked up in a state of misery being treated as criminals and suspected terrorists without a fair hearing on our soil”.
He said the new legislation “ignores the fundamental point that most of the people in small boats are men, women and children escaping terror and bloodshed from countries including Afghanistan, Iran and Syria”.
He added: “It is an approach more akin to authoritarian nations that walk away from international human rights treaties, such as Russia and Belarus, and is no way to treat those who have lost everything through no fault of their own.
“We need an approach that replaces the chaos and cost of what we have now and focuses on compassion and competence, creating safe and orderly routes for refugees to reach the UK, such as refugee visas, and always give people a fair hearing so their rights are respected.”
Yvette Cooper shreds the Tories over new small boat legislation
Yvette Cooper put on a blistering performance in parliament today as she ripped the Conservative’s new small boat legislation to pieces.
The shadow home secretary put the blame on the Tories following a decade of inaction, saying the asylum system “is broken and they broke it”.
You can watch it below:
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