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UK approves cruel and deshumain law against migration

The defense and enforcement of human rights and the right to asylum have been called into question lately. The disregard for the principles and values that encompass these rights has been worrying, especially with regard to the possible implementation of the Illegal migration Bill in the United Kingdom.

First, it is important to highlight that the Convention on the Status of Refugees clearly establishes that its principles are: non-discrimination, non-refoulement, non-penalization for illegal entry or stay, and the acquisition and enjoyment of rights over time. Second, we have to point out that the word 'illegal' should not be applied when we talk about migration and forced displacement of people. The term only reinforces the idea of migrants and refugees as criminals, giving the idea that by entering a country they are committing a crime, which is not the case as demonstrated above. To avoid misunderstandings and the spread of negative narratives about refugees and migrants, it is important to highlight that their entry should be refered as 'irregular' and never 'illegal'.

The bill wants to avoid the presence of smugglers, as well as the arrival of people without visas, who usually arrive by sea in small boats, including people forced to flee their countries due to conflicts or persecution. Although the justification may seem plausible, the bill calls into question several enshrined rights, preventing the right of appeal in case of automatic exclusion from the asylum system and avoiding the application of human rights to cases of deportation under review in court.

UNHCR has expressed deep concern over the legislation which, if passed, would be a clear breach of the Refugee Convention as well as the Human Rights Treaties to which the UK is signatory. The humanitarian issue would be put in check. It should be remembered that the Convention recognizes irregular entry into asylum territories.

People being detained on UK's border . Ben Stansall/AFP/GettyImages.

There is another additional concern related to the possible effect on the increase of dangerous and deadly trips. It has been more than proven that these types of laws do not prevent people from trying to survive. leading hundreds of people to be forced to try to escape by other means. The vast majority of people who flee from countries in conflict or who are persecuted are impossibled or cannot acquire travel documentation, being forced to follow unsafe routes in order to reach peace in safe countries. Thus, the routes that refugees and asylum seekers use to reach British territory are called into question. The idea is to only accept people from "safe and legal migration routes", that is through the resettlement program, community sponsorship, or family reunification visas for refugees. Resettlement has already proven to be inefficient, with only 2% of refugees in need being able to benefit from this programme, also not all refugees are eligible, meaning that only a tiny fraction of the people who desperately need protection and peace have access to a pathway. As highlighted by UNHCR, access to regular routes to the UK is currently only open to Ukrainian refugees and a limited number of Afghan refugees for whom the UK government has established separate routes.

Asylum seekers arriving via irregular routes will therefore have their asylum application rejected. Their case may not even be brought forward, let alone their exceptional circumstance and situation being taken into account. The protection they seek would be replaced by likely detention pending withdrawal to a "safe" third country such as Rwanda. This agreement between the United Kingdom and Rwanda, to receive people whose asylum process was denied by the British government, clearly violates the right to asylum, not meeting the required standards, having been challenged in court, as it denies any protection, security, freedom, well-being, dignity and basic conditions to those who need it the most, keeping asylum seekers in limbo or in detention facilities.

This "solution" becomes more worrying given its potential to be replicated in other countries that do not intend to fulfill the commitments they have made, to support those who need it most, being many of these cases the result of warmongering policies and initiatives, supported by geo-political and economicist ambitions, of these countries themselves.

The British Government's initiatives regarding migration - considered as the main objective of the mandate - constitute indiscriminate attacks on migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, placing (once again) these people as scapegoats for the nation's serious problems. Seen as a strategy to divert attention from the crises the country is experiencing, it makes use of techniques that inflame public opinion, turning it against the "problem" of migration, just to count votes.

In addition to international criticism and accusations, the controversial bill has already taken hundreds of people to the streets in protest, being considered as "inhuman, degrading, with disgusting rhetoric against refugees".


Protest gathers hundreds against illegal migration bill. Reuters.

More than 45,000 people tried to cross the English Channel in 2022, while there are more than 160,000 people waiting for an answer about their asylum process. It is essential to balance issues of sovereignty and the right and duty to protection and security. On the one hand, there is the regularity of entry and permanence in the territory; on the other, the need for protection and a dignified life for asylum seekers and refugees. The possibility of them being able to apply for asylum in the UK before entering the country is extremely remote. Financial and communication difficulties, as well as the immediate need for protection and security, increase the desperate search for irregular and dangerous routes.

We defend and fight for the protection of human rights and the right to asylum, in any territory, so that those who have been forced to flee their homes in order to survive, can restart their lives and we vehemently reject any act or legislation that violates these rights and discriminates against people.

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