Britain attempts to remove asylum seekers to other EU countries - Refugee Council
November 26, 2015

Britain attempts to remove asylum seekers to other EU countries

Britain is continuing to attempt to send asylum seekers back to other EU countries to have their claims examined, despite the chaotic conditions in Europe’s bordering nations as countries struggle to cope with the number of people arriving via the Mediterranean Sea.

So far this year, the British government has refused asylum to 1,157 people on the basis that another country is responsible for examining their claim. After such a refusal, the Government will then attempt to remove people to that country.

The BBC has revealed examples of Britain trying to send Syrian asylum seekers to Italy to have their cases processed, despite the fact that over 140,000 people have arrived in Italy so far in 2015. Just 27,048 asylum seekers have arrived in Britain so far this year.

Of the few people who travel across Europe in order to claim asylum in Britain, many are attempting to reach family members who already live here in safety. Under EU rules, asylum seekers are entitled to have their claims examined in the same country as their family members. Despite this provision, the British Government appears to be deliberately separating families.

The countries on the border of Europe have been struggling to cope with the numbers of arrivals this year with over 860,000 people arriving via sea so far. As a result, EU countries have agreed to share responsibility for arrivals by relocating them away from Italy and Greece to other Member States.

Not only is Britain refusing to participate in this relocation scheme; it is undermining it completely by sending people in the opposite direction. 

Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “The Refugee Council is calling for the government to urgently suspend the transfer of asylum seekers to other European countries under the Dublin regulation, except for the purposes of family reunification.

“Everyone has the right to live in safety with their loved ones.  The British Government should be doing everything in its power to reunite families divided by war, rather than deliberately and permanently separating them.

“There is provision in the Dublin regulation for Britain to examine the cases of asylum seekers who have families here; the government must apply those rules proactively and generously.

“It’s wholly inappropriate that at a time when the rest of the EU is working together to relocate arrivals away from the countries on Europe’s borders, Britain is trying to send asylum seekers back there.”

Ask your MP to help reunite refugee families here.