Eleven leading refugee, human rights and legal organisations (1) have set out the fundamental principles for a new asylum system today, publishing a new report ‘Refugees: Renewing the Vision’(2).
The document, a working paper, lays out an approach to the asylum system centred on how to ensure that protection is granted to those whose safety would be at risk if they were returned to their country of origin.
The system would include the creation of a positive ‘fast-track’ recognition scheme for asylum-seekers who are clearly refugees. It would also involve setting up a more independent decision-making process – one that is less adversarial and more objective and investigative than the highly flawed current process.
Launching the document, Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The fundamental principles underlying an asylum system – that all people should be safe from torture and other forms of persecution – are the principles underpinning our common humanity.
“We want to stimulate a more informed public debate that focuses on two clear issues. First, how do we as a society ensure there is safe access to asylum both here and abroad? And second, how do we ensure that no one is returned to a country where their lives and liberty could be endangered?”
The working paper addresses the global causes of refugee movement, arguing that the root causes must be the focal point in finding viable solutions for worldwide refugee challenges. Part of this solution, suggests the paper, is the need for more ‘joined-up’ government approaches – from promoting human rights and gender equality, building social cohesion and supporting efforts to improve regional stability and security in areas of conflict.
Notes to editors
The eleven human rights and refugee NGOs publishing this working paper are: the Refugee Council in partnership with Amnesty International UK, Immigration Advisory Service, Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Justice, Medical Foundation for the Care of the Victims of Torture, Oxfam GB, Refugee Action, Refugee Legal Centre and the Scottish Refugee Council.
For further information please contact Refugee Council press office: 020 7820 3057/3044 or 020 7840 4404, out of hours 0870 0555500 (pager no 865169).
Read an article by Maeve Sherlock calling for a renewed vision on asylum in The Guardian, Fast track to Britain
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