UN: UK Migration Bill Contrary to International Law


GENEVA: Britain’s Illegal Migration Bill, aimed at stopping thousands of migrants arriving in the country, is at odds with London’s obligations under international law, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The bill, which has been passed by parliament and now awaits the formality of being signed into law by King Charles III, means migrants arriving by boat will be refused the right to apply for asylum in the UK.

The bill “is at variance with the country’s obligations under international human rights and refugee law and will have profound consequences for people in need of international protection”, the U.N. refugee and human rights chiefs said.

In a joint statement, they said the bill blocks access to asylum in Britain for anyone who arrives irregularly, having passed through a country — however briefly — where they did not face persecution.

The U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk and the U.N. refugees head Filippo Grandi said the bill bars people from presenting refugee protection claims, whatever their circumstances, and creates sweeping new detention powers with limited judicial oversight.

“This new legislation significantly erodes the legal framework that has protected so many, exposing refugees to grave risks in breach of international law,” Grandi said.

The 1951 Refugee Convention explicitly recognizes that refugees may be compelled to enter a country of asylum irregularly, the pair noted.

“I urge the UK government to renew this commitment to human rights by reversing this law and ensuring that the rights of all migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers are respected, protected and fulfilled, without discrimination,” Turk said.__VOA News