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Parliamentary human rights committee warns Illegal Migration Bill is illegal


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In a report published yesterday, the Joint Committee on Human Rights warns that the Illegal Migration Bill would deny access to the asylum system to the vast majority of refugees, in breach of a number of binding international human rights obligations, if it was passed in its current form. You can read more about the Illegal Migration Bill, its content, and whether it is workable, here

Key provisions that fail to meet the UK’s obligations include severely restricting human rights claims, broad detention and search powers, denying protections to modern slavery victims, and removing the right to appeal age assessments.

“The government is rightly concerned about the loss of life in the Channel. So are we. However, our role here is to scrutinise legislation for its compatibility with human rights law. In our view, it is clear that the Bill would deny the vast majority of refugees access to the UK’s asylum system, despite the fact that there will have been, in many cases, no means for them to enter the UK by safe and legal routes. It prohibits the consideration of their protection or human rights claims irrespective of the merits of their cases. It permits them to be subject to detention without time limits, including pregnant women and children who are normally subject to special protections. It renders them liable to removal from the UK, either to their country of origin or to a ‘safe third state’ with which they may have no connection, without any individualised assessments of risk being undertaken. It also restricts their access to the courts and their ability to remain in the UK while they challenge removal on human rights grounds.”

Amendments suggested by the committee include (but are not limited to) removing the duty to make arrangements for removal in clause 2, as well as existing certain persons from clause 2, removing the power to make arrangements for the removal of unaccompanied children and ensuring that the child’s best interests are considered, and removing the “exceptional circumstances” test for removal where a person has made a protection or human rights claim. The next sitting in the committee stage for the Bill is today, 12 June. 

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