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UPDATED WITH LINK TO FULL TEXT Outline of Theresa May’s UN summit speech on refugees


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UPDATE: Full text of speech is here.

As UN countries gear up for 2 years of negotiations on new politically binding compacts on refugees and migrants, the PM will seek to put down an early marker by proposing three specific principles that should guide our approach:

  • A first safe country. This would help to ensure that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, recognising that the current trend of onward movement benefits criminal gangs, exposes people to grave danger and reduces the prospects of them ever returning home to rebuild their countries.
  • Better distinction between refugees and economic migrants – recognising that a failure to do so only encourages more people to put their lives in the hands of criminal gangs and undertake dangerous journeys.
  • The right of all countries to control their borders and the responsibility to manage borders to reduce onward flows illegal and uncontrolled migration.

This isn’t exactly looking at refugee protection from the refugee’s end of the telescope, nor is it terribly welcoming towards refugees. Essentially, May is saying that refugees are best dealt with at arm’s length. Or perhaps barge pole length.

Source: PM calls for a new global approach to respond to unmanaged migration – News stories – GOV.UK

Interested in refugee law? You might like Colin's book, imaginatively called "Refugee Law" and published by Bristol University Press.

Communicating important legal concepts in an approachable way, this is an essential guide for students, lawyers and non-specialists alike.

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Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.