“Immoral, unworkable and – as identified in its title – illegal”
The Human Rights Consortium and The PILS Project published a joint briefing on the Illegal Migration Bill condemning it as “immoral, unworkable and – as identified in its title – illegal”.
The Bill would remove the ability to claim asylum for those who enter the UK “irregularly”, fundamentally breaching the Refugee Convention and potentially undermining important protections in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and Article 2 of the Protocol/Windsor Framework.
Alexa Moore, research officer in the Human Rights Consortium said, “This regressive legislation from the UK Government is just another example of their disregard for human rights and a continuation of their policy of scapegoating and targeting the most marginalised in our community, in this case refugees and asylum seekers.
We are particularly concerned that provisions in this Bill would contravene the protections for trafficking victims in Northern Ireland’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act, and could violate the EU Trafficking Directive which has continued relevance for Northern Ireland under Article 2 of the Protocol/Windsor Framework.
We would also consider the restrictions placed on refugee and asylum seekers’ access to their European Convention Rights and to adequate judicial remedies to be a breach of commitments in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.”
Hilary Perry, Membership Coordinator at PILS, said: “This proposed legislation is alarming, not just in terms of its content but also the speed with which it is making its way through Parliament, arguably without proper scrutiny.
The Bill does not exempt victims of trafficking and modern slavery, or children, including unaccompanied minors, from the Home Secretary’s “duty to remove” and “duty to make asylum claims inadmissible”. Challenges to removal orders will only be possible through a very limited ‘suspensive claim’ process. The legislation, if enacted, would also render human rights claims made by individuals, who are subject to its provisions, inadmissible.”
The Bill has passed through Committee Stage in the House of Commons and will go to Report Stage with a selection of Government amendments.