The UN refugee agency said it is “profoundly concerned” by the asylum bill introduced by the government, even the government seemingly admits it is illegal, but more of that in a minute.
UNHCR says that the bill, in its current form, “compels the home secretary to deny access to the UK asylum system to those who arrive irregularly”.
In a statement, the agency said asylum seekers would be subject to detention in the UK, while arrangements are pursued to remove them to another country.
The statement read: “The legislation, if passed, would amount to an asylum ban – extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how genuine and compelling their claim may be, and with no consideration of their individual circumstances.
“The effect of the bill (in this form) would be to deny protection to many asylum-seekers in need of safety and protection, and even deny them the opportunity to put forward their case. This would be a clear breach of the Refugee Convention and would undermine a longstanding, humanitarian tradition of which the British people are rightly proud.
“Most people fleeing war and persecution are simply unable to access the required passports and visas. There are no safe and “legal” routes available to them. Denying them access to asylum on this basis undermines the very purpose for which the Refugee Convention was established. The convention explicitly recognises that refugees may be compelled to enter a country of asylum irregularly.
“Based on the Home Office’s most recently published data, the vast majority of those arriving to the UK in small boats over the Channel would be accepted as refugees were their claims to be determined. Branding refugees as undeserving based on mode of arrival distorts these fundamental facts.
So what does the government make of it’s own legislation? Well, it seems they know that this legislation may not be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.